Has COVID changed teachers’ relationships with technology?
Tue 23 February, 2021
We are now nearly a year into COVID restrictions, can you believe it? There has seen a huge change for schools and in particular teaching methods. With students having been in and out of schools with very little warning, teachers have had to think on their feet! This is where technology comes into play.
There are a lot of teachers that use technology when teaching and do so confidently, however, there are also still a lot of teachers that prefer to stick to more traditional methods. This may be because there can be stigmas about technology going wrong. Or that they just prefer being more involved with the class and not relying on computers. But over the last year school closures have meant that refusing to embrace technology in the classroom is no longer an option. Teachers have had to turn to technology in a big way since March last year; for some this may come naturally, but for many teachers using remote learning tools has meant having to learn quickly. Even technology-savvy teachers have had to learn some new tricks as the pandemic has continued.
So, has COVID changed teachers’ relationships with technology?
The simple answer is definitely yes! But in what ways?
Well, the Department for Education has now made it mandatory for schools to provide some form of remote learning which fulfils their normal responsibilities for educating students. Most schools have now turned to remote teaching options such as Google teams or similar software. These remote learning tools have allowed teachers to continue teaching classes face to face. For some, this is bog-standard technology but others have found this a big leap forward. It has enabled almost all classroom teaching to carry on albeit from home.
Some love it, some hate it. Teaching without the direct personal feedback of in-person lessons can be hard, especially for teachers who are also struggling to get up to speed with the new software. One concern which many teachers raised with us was how much harder teaching would be without the one-to-one contact time to help students with problems. Fortunately, on Google for Education and similar services, this is often possible. At Soft Egg we were able to provide key training and support to the schools we work with on how best to get the most out of remote learning tools. For example, there are functions enabling a student and teacher to have a quick one to one chat if the student isn’t comfortable speaking in front of the class. This function obviously isn’t there in a classroom and helps less confident students to get more help.
There are even games and activities that can be used for students when at home, which can also be implemented in a classroom. Some teachers would use these regularly anyway, but they open up more options for teachers that may have been unaware that they even exist. COVID and teaching at home have opened the eyes of teachers and shown the endless options available when using technology. It has given them much more confidence when using technology. Which benefits their teaching.
Could this benefit continue after COVID?
Most definitely, the relationship between teachers and technology has been boosted 10-fold. With some teachers going from knowing the basics to feeling hugely confident in using online tools simply because they have had to. But post-COVID these new skills should open up new opportunities for teachers to engage with technology in the classroom for the benefit of all students. It will make lessons more fun, which at the end of the day means that students learn more. But this isn’t it! Homework activities and after school teaching can have a much more varied approach. I bet we all remember being given a worksheet to work through as homework. Well now, this could be integrated into an online game (the same questions). You could even make it into a competition with leader boards. Making students want to learn. There’s still room for both. These kinds of things have been helped the relationship with technology to be boosted!
To round it off, as you have seen COVID has allowed teachers to engage with technology in new ways which could be an excellent silver lining from the pandemic in years to come.