Based on Sung’s (2016) research, as well as other researchers’ investigations and experience, an education technology solution should do at least the following things to be truly effective:
Now, let’s dig deeper into each of the individual factors.
Technological devices have various distinctive features, such as individualized interfaces, real-time access to information, context sensitivity, instant communication and feedback capabilities, and endless others. To be truly impactful, EdTech should be intentional about using these features to address specifically identified pedagogic challenges.
Defined instructional strategies or learning outcomes should be identified, and the unique features of the devices should be wielded to target these outcomes effectively. If this is not done, then the true potential of EdTech is not unlocked, and many benefits are lost.
2. Integrate the device, software, pedagogical content, and teacher support
Researchers have emphasized that to achieve the maximum impact of education technology and overcome many of the associated challenges, a synthesis between the technology, the educational content and mission, and the users is essential.
In other words, to be truly effective, the EdTech solution should not include only the stand-alone technological device. Instead, it should comprise a complete teaching program supported by tool-specific teacher training and ongoing support. EdTech that lacks quality, targeted content, adequate support, and a long-term outlook will likely have a feeble and short-lived impact.
3. Provide immediate and comprehensive feedback and analytics
One of the powerful advantages of EdTech is its capability to provide thorough and accurate information about a student’s learning progress. These insights can be used to:
If the technology is not harnessing these capabilities to the fullest extent, we are drifting in a sailboat without a sail.
4. Facilitate teacher training for mobile-enhanced education
An overwhelming amount of research has highlighted that one of the most significant obstacles to implementing effective mobile learning programs is insufficient preparation of the educators.
Teachers need to be empowered with an understanding of how best to integrate EdTech with the lesson content, the teaching methods, and the educational goals. Increased knowledge and experience with the tool/solution will promote their autonomy in its implementation and enable them to achieve the most impactful results.
As such, EdTech should come hand-in-hand with tool-specific training for the teachers who will be using it.