In education we often speak a complicated language full of acronyms and phrases that are not commonly understood by the average lay person. “EdTech”, or Educational Technology, can be confusing when referenced in a conversation. However, EdTech is an innovation within education that has the potential to profoundly affect how schools impact our children, parents, teachers and administrators. EdTech is simply the use of technological resources to advance student learning.
Take a moment to think about the technological advances that have taken place in the last 30, 20, or even 10 years. I would have never predicted that almost every person I know would be carrying around a portable phone that could operate as a mini computer and communication device. When properly used, Educational Technology can be a powerful tool in transforming the learning in our nation’s schools and classrooms. We typically consider how EdTech can advance student learning but there are also benefits to using these same technological advances to help support a positive school culture. How can we maximize the technological advances that have occured to help support learning and culture in our schools?
Educational technology can be used to support school culture by providing parents, teachers, and students more opportunities for collaboration, easy access to in-the-moment data, and provide alternative ways to monitor progress toward individual student and school culture goals.
To build a positive school culture authentic collaboration must take place. This collaboration is not only necessary within the walls of the school, it is also necessary outside of the school with parents, community members and other stakeholders. EdTech allows participants to co-create content, communicate to large numbers of people at the same time, and collaborate on a larger scale than what typically takes place without it inside of a school. Virtual meeting tools allow families that need to attend a meeting but perhaps do not have the scheduling flexibility to physically come to the school to meet with a team of teachers.
Additionally the power of ongoing communication between schools, teachers, families, and the community allow for much needed transparency between all parties, which can increase trust and build positive, productive relationships, all of which are necessary for positive school culture and increased student learning.
EdTech can also provide school teams, families, and students easy access to information and data. A key part of building and maintaining a positive school culture is the ability to identify areas of success and challenge, then replicate what is working and problem-solve what is not. In going through this type of continuous improvement process with school teams, everyone must be collecting data and have access to not only their own data but schoolwide information. Using tools such as Kickboard allows all teachers to collect data about their students in the same pre-determined focused areas, which is then compiled and shared with school teams to identify areas of concern and where things are going well within the school’s culture. This information is used by the school team to work together to set goals, using identified areas of concern and success. Schools that are actively working on improving or building a positive school culture also understand the importance of progress-monitoring the goals that have been set. Easy access to current, compiled data is an imperative ingredient to the success of this process.
Additionally, parents, guardians, and students must have easy access to individual student and school wide data if we expect our school cultures to improve. This looks like families and students having access to information about the whole child, including individual student grades, behavior data and school culture goals. It is only then that true, collective collaboration can take place.
Each day, the availability of EdTech options are growing and changing, much like the technology outside of education. As educators we must keep up with the current technology offerings, support its implementation in our schools, and advocate for equity and access in all schools. Here at Kickboard, we have seen the impact on the achievement of students when schools effectively use technology as a tool for improving school culture. To learn more about how Kickboard can support the use of EdTech in your school click here.