As students return to the classroom after the pandemic period of online learning, educators have started to speculate on the future of online learning. For many teachers and students, the past year of virtual school was exhausting. However, there were also several bright spots. Teachers discovered new tech tools and learning systems that made lessons more engaging – technology they plan to bring back to the in-person classroom.
The Covid-19 pandemic likely gave EdTech the boost it needed to be treated seriously as a learning system. EdTech apps are no longer considered school-based games for keeping kids entertained. These software tools are considered essential for helping students learn.
Here are 35 reasons why online learning and EdTech will be essential to the future classroom.
1. Teachers Can Use EdTech to Enhance or Replace Lesson Plans
There are two different ways that EdTech can be introduced to the classroom. It can enhance lesson plans (like using Kahoot! to allow students to answer questions digitally) or it can replace them. Instead of asking students to read passages and complete worksheets, EdTech systems can become the course materials that help students learn. These apps are more than just games that are used to reward students after a big test.
2. Students Can Hear the Same Material Presented Different Ways
It’s unrealistic to expect your students to remember everything you say in class. Most students need to hear information multiple times before it gets stored in their long-term memory. Online learning tools will explain concepts slightly differently than you do, which increases the chances that your students remember the concept.
Just don’t take it personally that students are more interested in multiplication when a cartoon character is explaining it.
3. Online Tools Allow for Differentiation
No two students learn the same. Even students with similar test scores have different strengths and weaknesses. One student might favor algebra in math while another prefers geometry. Differentiation meets students where they are. EdTech systems identify what individual students need to work on in order to provide relevant educational materials.
4. Teachers Learn Which Students Need Help
With online learning and education technology, teachers can see exactly which students need help well before they hand out quizzes and tests. This allows for early intervention so students get assistance before any grades are logged.
5. Students Don’t Have to Ask for Help
Many students feel embarrassed when they are struggling and don’t want to ask for help. Instead, they will sit quickly and continue to fall behind until the teacher notices. When educators can see that students need help within online systems, they can reach out instead of expecting the student to ask for assistance.
6. Students Can Explore Lessons on Their Own
If students have access to online systems at home, they can review materials on their own to prepare for a test. They can work ahead if certain topics interest them. Essentially, students can take control of their educations and build their independence. This allows teachers to focus on students who want more in-person help.
7. Advanced Students Won’t Get Bored
One of the main benefits of increasing student independence is that advanced students will always have something to work on. Historically, advanced students would grow bored as teachers review concepts that their peers need help with. In some cases, they might act out because they have nothing to do. Online learning provides appropriate lessons for all students.
8. Parents Can Follow Student Progress
In traditional education systems, parents receive progress reports every few months. However, EdTech tools provide day-to-day insight into student performance. These reports often go beyond letter grades and instead dive into areas where students need more help – like long division or fractions.
9. Students Can Prove They Know the Material in Different Ways
One of the benefits of project-based learning is that students can provide they understand core concepts without having to write an essay or take a test on the material. EdTech systems provide varied and non-traditional ways for students to prove their competencies. This allows more learners to thrive who otherwise would struggle in a traditional testing environment.
10. Parents Can Be More Involved in the Classroom Experience
When parents know what is going on in the classroom, they can become more involved in the education of their kids. They will care more about certain subjects and might be more willing to communicate with the teacher. Learning is a team effort that requires student, teacher, and parent involvement to succeed.
11. There Are an Unlimited Number of Programs
In February 2020, there were more than 1,385 EdTech companies in the United States. This number skyrocketed after schools switched to remote learning during the pandemic. There are hundreds of different programs, lessons, websites, apps, and tools that teachers can use – many of which offer free options. This means teachers can find the perfect online resources for their students.
12. Online Learning Taps Into Multiple Learning Styles
EdTech tools bring together audio and visual information to appeal to different learners. There are also kinesthetic elements that kids enjoy by clicking on and engaging with different parts of the page. As a teacher, it’s hard to build audio, visual, and kinesthetic elements into each lesson. Online learning systems can do that for you.
13. Students Feel More Comfortable in Online Worlds
It’s almost impossible for most kids to walk away from their phones or put down their game consoles when they have free time. EdTech systems provide online learning in ways that kids are familiar with. They view online systems are more engaging than traditional learning methods with textbooks, lectures, and worksheets.
14. Online Tools Connect School to Virtual Interests
Minecraft. Fortnite. Among Us. Every year there seems to be a new online trend that kids are obsessed with. While teachers do their best to keep up, it’s easy to fall behind in what students are into. Fortunately, many EdTech tools and online programs tap into these trends with their materials. You can pick out guides to using Minecraft in your history lessons or hosting an Among Us game to teach probability in math class.
15. Bright Colors, Sounds, and Shapes Engage Students
Teachers work endlessly to engage and entertain students. They perform puppet shows and try to teach math with cotton candy. EdTech tools and other online programs are designed for kids. They are built to engage them and prevent distractions in your classroom.
16. Kids Can Build Connections Through Images and Pictures
It’s hard to explain what a catapult is if your students have never seen one. It is hard to describe the Parthenon without an image. EdTech tools and online systems that build visuals into their systems help students build connections with the world around them. This increases the chances that the material will stick as students have reasons to remember the material in the long run.
17. Online Courses Take the Burden of Creativity Off of Teachers
Teachers are incredibly creative individuals and come up with countless projects, games, and activities throughout the year. However, there are times when they need to take a step back. Online tools can reduce the risk of burnout in educators who can use these apps and games for lesson planning when they need to.
18. Teachers Can Collaborate on Lesson Plans
Schools are communities where teachers work together to support each other. When educators can share resources and use the same systems, they can build each other up. For example, if one teacher builds a lesson plan around a certain EdTech program, they can share it with other instructors to use. This reduces lesson planning time and ensures the best ideas get spread around.
19. School Districts Will Experience Fewer Inclement Weather Days
While teachers and students both love the occasional snow day, online learning makes it easy to keep class going even when the weather is too severe to leave the house. The pandemic highlighted the future of online learning: students can log on from their homes and continue participating in class until they can return to school.
20. Students Can Attend School Remotely When They Need To
On an individual scale, students can log into school remotely if they need to miss class. This could be because of an illness or a family matter. This practice is already in place for some schools when students are exposed to Covid-19 and need to quarantine.
21. Parents Can Refresh Themselves on Relevant Materials
Many parents haven’t thought about certain math and grammar concepts since they were in elementary school. They might stare blankly at their kids’ assignments with no way to help them. This can be heartbreaking and frustrating for entire families. Some EdTech programs provide refresher courses for parents, which can allow them to tutor their kids effectively.
22. Districts Can Hire Remote Teachers
Some districts have a hard time hiring teachers who don’t want to move to the area. The future of online learning follows the remote work trend. Some schools might hire teachers to cover classes virtually if they can’t find qualified candidates to take on the job in person. This provides students with learning opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have.
23. Schools Can Provide More Classes to Students
Some schools don’t have the time and teaching resources to provide a diverse range of classes to students. There might not be enough demand to hire a German teacher or an expert instructor to teach AP Physics. Online learning can open doors to students who want to take these courses. They can attend school in person but take advantage of self-directed study with online learning at different parts of the day.
24. Substitute Teachers Can Feel Empowered to Teach
There’s a common myth that substitute teachers only play movies and try to keep students behaved until the bell rings. However, many substitute educators do their best to teach the material and execute the expected lesson plans. If district substitutes are familiar with the EdTech systems used, they can comfortably use the technology so the students don’t fall behind. This means there is less catch-up work for teachers when they return.
25. All Age Groups Can Benefit From Online Learning
EdTech isn’t just for one group of students. Young students can learn while playing games and meeting new characters, while older students can connect educational concepts to online interests. Teachers in grades K-12 can benefit from bringing digital tools to the classroom.
26. Districts Can Provide Increased Accessibility Features
Online learning doesn’t have to be the only way to connect with students, but it will be essential for some of them. District leaders can invest in EdTech tools that have features for students with disabilities and who are neurodivergent. They can also invest in systems that come in multiple languages, so students who don’t speak English can learn science and math concepts using words they understand.
27. Teachers Can Have an Easier Time Moving Schools
If an entire district uses the same online learning system, teachers can have an easier time moving from one school to another. They won’t have to get used to as many new systems and tools because the apps used in one location transfer to the next. This also keeps different schools on the same learning pace because the teachers will use similar lesson plan modules.
28. Teachers Can Explore Different Classroom Models
There are significant research opportunities as we enter the future of online learning. Teachers can explore different ways to connect with students and review new education models. For example, some teachers might use the flipped classroom to change how they review material. Students will watch videos at home and then work on homework and projects during class.
29. EdTech Tools Can Improve the Work-Life Balance of Educators
Online systems can automatically grade students and submit reports to teachers. This reduces the amount of time they need to spend grading each day, freeing up space to review student performance and communicate with parents. EdTech systems also come with pre-developed lesson plans, so teachers can spend less time putting together their days and more time with their families.
30. Online Classes Connect Students From Across the Globe
Digital technology can make our world smaller. Students can participate in language exchange programs through apps, where they trade off speaking English and another language with students in another country. This broadens their cultural horizons and allows students to better develop their language skills.
31. Virtual Classrooms Connect Students With Tutors
Some students can benefit from meeting with tutors to review the material if they don’t understand certain concepts in class. Online learning opens multiple doors for this. Students can meet with tutors virtually to get extra help or these educational aids can review online programs to see which concepts they should focus on. The goal of online learning is to provide information and resources to teachers and students.
32. Students Increasingly Have Access to the Internet
One of the biggest concerns at the start of the pandemic was internet access. However, after a big push to increase connectivity, most teachers say 75 percent of their students have adequate internet access to complete their assignments. This still leaves an access gap, but it’s one that districts can work with communities to close. When students have internet access, online learning is possible.
33. Colleges Have Started Teaching Online Education Strategies
The next generation of teachers is ready for online learning. Colleges and teacher training programs have started building online learning into their curricula. Future teachers develop virtual lesson plans and meet with classes online. EdTech isn’t going anywhere and teachers need to be ready to use it.
34. EdTech is More Cost Effective for Schools
Many EdTech systems are sold on a per-student or per-teacher basis, which means districts can easily estimate the cost of these systems for their schools. The technology is often more affordable than other supplies, won’t wear out, and can be applied across most grades and subjects. The right online learning system can power an entire district and allow administrators to see which schools and classrooms need extra attention.
35. EdTech Tools are Constantly Improving
Even if you can’t find the perfect online system for your needs, chances are high that you will find an ideal match in the future. The best EdTech companies are constantly improving and trying to offer better programs to schools and teachers. Online learning is the future and the programs that teachers use will only get better with each passing year.
Embrace EdTech With eSpark
If you are looking for an educational solution for your classroom, school, or entire district, explore the adventures and Quests at eSpark. We provide engaging activities for K-5 students across a variety of subjects. Our program is meant to enhance the learning process, not serve as a gaming reward once the real lessons are over. Once you try eSpark, you will continuously find new ways to use it with your students. Try eSpark for free today and see how it works for you.