If you have a child attending school during a pandemic, you probably know many things about educational technology (edtech). It’s a combination of education and technology that involves interactive whiteboards, classroom tablets, interactive games, and other digital educational platforms. While these tools have existed for a long time, they become even more popular during the pandemic, with more schools relying on them to support the virtual school environment. One example is the MBA admissions calculator and predictor that help college students calculate the likelihood of their acceptance of over 400 MBA programs around the U.S.
If there’s one thing the academic community is sure of, edtech has reached unprecedented heights in terms of virtual instruction since the pandemic. Its ability to support distance learning has allowed millions of students around the globe to resume their education amid a global crisis. But despite their amazing capabilities, there are long-standing issues concerning edtech. For instance, many students still don’t have access to laptops at home, and parents who are concerned about their children’s data privacy.
As teachers and students adjust to returning to school in person, the academic community should be aware of how they can use technology to support students’ learning experience while taking critical steps to prevent potential loopholes and threats to privacy. This article will talk about the critical concerns and limitations of edtech in supporting virtual school environments.
Cybersecurity and data privacy issues
Cyber threats and data privacy risks are a long-standing problem, not just for the edtech sector. Public and private entities face Internet security threats, such as data breaches, phishing, malware, and other security risks taking place in the digital landscape.
Anyone who has access to the Internet is prone to harm if the right measures aren’t put in place. The right online academic platforms spend a lot of time monitoring security issues. They work with districts, schools, and IT professionals to stay updated with online security norms.
Security issues can be difficult to navigate in legal waters since there are many regulations to consider. But cybersecurity isn’t just a question of what is good or bad on the Internet but also ensuring that platforms curate and encrypt data on behalf of their users. For this reason, they have to exert efforts to build a virtual environment where every student feels safe with their own accounts.
Technologies never lived up to the hype
There are plenty of edtech tools that never witnessed an uneven implementation and well-established practices. These include digital badges, interoperability initiatives, and iPads.
Among modern edtech tools, iPads never live up to everyone’s expectation — to become the widely used delivery method for teaching content. The emergence of iPads as a content delivery method started in 2010 as academic institutions started embracing digital tools to show parents and students they can keep up with technological advancements. Later on, more schools require students to buy their own gadgets to attend a certain class.
While tablets brought a lot of conveniences both for teachers and students themselves, they later gave rise to issues, such as technology discrimination in terms of accessibility, students hacking schools’ security, large, unnecessary expenses, and breakage issues. The worse one was using gadgets as a mandatory requirement to pass a certain subject.
We cannot deny that tablets, iPads, and other gadgets have a place in formal instruction, but they weren’t enough to fully modernize the classroom environment. Instead, they further gave way to academic-related issues because of poor implementation.
Technology doesn’t drive higher achievement
A popular misconception about edtech is the belief that technology alone can drive student performance. The role of technology is to only empower and support better learning and teaching.
Over the years, academic professionals have witnessed how the emergence of technology has caused a significant increase in mental health issues among students. Students suffer from stress and anxiety as hyper-stimulating media invades their world, social media culture leads to feelings of inadequacy, and existential pressure hovers students’ futures. These challenges have led to increasing levels of anxiety that hinder everyone’s ability to daydream, remember, read for extended periods, and sustain attention.
While these problems seem commonplace to us, the online community isn’t interested in addressing these issues. For others, taking technology away may be the answer, but prohibition doesn’t work for some. The answer lies in using technology to support relaxation, community, hope, and attention.
For teachers operating in the virtual and hybrid space, edtech should serve as critical support in empowering them and their students to continue doing what is best. Learning the right digital tools to support your instructional methods will help you discover what’s both for yourself and the students.