The new era of education is high-tech and high-touch

Jack Lynch | December 21, 2021 | 77 views

High Tech and High Touch Education
We’ve heard a lot about the role of technology in pandemic education, and for good reason: Digital solutions enabled school communities to maintain learning through uncertainty and interruption none of us could have imagined.

However, the triumphs of edtech have been paired with critical challenges. Since the pandemic closed schools in March 2020, school districts have invested in getting students access to computing devices and the internet.

Technology-hesitant teachers became technology-proficient as they learned to navigate remote teaching and learning in impromptu virtual classrooms. Still, with all of the progress we made in digital learning, the interruption of the face-to-face social aspects of the classroom experience resulted in the students finishing the 2020-2021 school year four to five months behind in reading and math on average, according to a recent study from McKinsey & Company.

We’re starting to see the promise of digital learning take hold; teachers can use software to differentiate and personalize instruction. But we can’t stop here. Over the last 18 months, “technology” has been a synonym for “virtual,” where many kids felt isolated, sitting behind a device and craving connection with their peers and teachers.

We now have the opportunity to take what we have learned and use it to usher in a new era of education — one that is powered to a meaningful degree by technology yet centered on human connection, and one where we reject the false choice between engaging software and an incredible teacher. As we return to school this fall, we can blend the best of technology with the best of the classroom experience.

HMH recently shared results of our annual Educator Confidence Report, and the findings provide critical insights into the characteristics that should define the post-pandemic classroom.

Over 1,200 front-line educators from across the U.S. responded, and while optimism has fallen (only 38% of educators reported a somewhat positive or positive view of the state of their profession), confidence in the mastery and benefit of learning technologies is on the rise.

We’re moving from digital promise to digital proof. Despite a tumultuous year, teachers’ current views on technology provide a bright spot, paving the way for more purposeful use of digital solutions.

Educator confidence in using edtech is at an all-time high since we began this survey seven years ago, with 66% of teachers very or extremely confident in their abilities. Many credit their experience of being thrown into the deep end in March 2020. Today, a nearly unanimous 95% of teachers have experienced the benefits of edtech, and 77% believe tech will help them be more effective teachers post-pandemic.

Of critical importance is the type of benefit teachers are experiencing. 81% report at least one of the following top three benefits, all of which are highly student-centric: improved student engagement; differentiated, individualized instruction; and flexible access to instructional content.

Despite technology playing a larger and more effective role, educators report that there are still critical barriers to access and efficacy that must be addressed, including lack of devices and internet access. 57% of educators also indicated that lack of student engagement with tech is a major barrier. More than half told us that the lack of time to plan for integrating digital resources into instruction was a top challenge.

Students’ emotional well-being is educators’ top concern

We all recognize that at the center of teaching and learning is the strong connection built and nurtured between teacher and student, which serves as the foundation for academic and social-emotional growth and drives engagement. We cannot let technology that breaks that connection and isolates students obscure that critical relationship, and data from this year’s survey is an important harbinger.

Among educators, 58% are concerned that students will demonstrate increased social-emotional needs after the pandemic, and social-emotional needs broadly remained the top concern this year (ahead of teachers’ own salaries and concerns about students falling behind). In addition, 82% of educators believe a well-crafted, fully integrated social-emotional learning (SEL) program will have an impact.

Ultimately, to begin to recover and transition into our “post-pandemic instructional model,” we can benefit from a best-of-both-worlds approach that fuses the power of technology with the tried-and-true social gathering of the classroom — “high-tech” working in a mutually reinforcing way with “high-touch.”

Educators’ unique experiences shed light on what the classroom of the future will look like

Technology alone will not usher in education’s new era. It is critical that we leverage digital solutions with a community-oriented, connected and human mindset.

At HMH, we strive for an edtech ecosystem that drives engagement, not isolation; for solutions that offer actionable data and insights that allow teachers to differentiate instruction, not simply “a page under glass”; for innovations that do not add to educators’ full plates, but rather extend their capabilities and give them time to focus on the social-emotional needs of their students.

We heard loud and clear that educators believe in the potential of technology to accomplish these goals — 82% of educators believe customized learning for every student will transform learning and teaching in the future, and 75% believe technology solutions that connect instruction and assessment on one platform will be essential to this transformation.

Edtech’s potential has been unlocked at an exponential rate over the past year, but the future of the classroom is not merely high-tech. It is high-touch, too.

When we asked educators what they are most looking forward to post-pandemic, the answer was clear — being together with their student community: 80% cited interacting face-to-face with students, 74% said more student engagement and 63% noted student collaboration opportunities.

The passionate discussion around in-person versus digital learning is too often shortsighted in its creation of a strict binary — digital or analog. But our greatest success will come from embracing the fact that these are not opposing forces; they are complementary force multipliers.

We’ve lost a great deal over the last year, but we’ve also gained important ground — and we can continue that momentum. As a society, we will continue to assess the health risks before us and navigate an increasingly hybrid world that includes our workplaces, neighborhoods and, of course, our schools.

I believe that as we do ultimately return to our school buildings, we’ll be ready to usher in a new era of learning, one powered by tech and innovation but forever defined by the community of teachers and students at its heart.

Spotlight

Vedantu

Vedantu is a live online tutoring platform that enables personalized learning. Vedantu uses technology to bring together teachers and students on a single platform to enable live learning between them. On Vedantu student can select from a huge pool of quality teachers. Vedantu has technology tools which enables teachers to provide LIVE teaching to students in an interactive manner using whiteboard, audio and video technology. The company is very focused on technology and has created in-house product which is very optimized for low bandwidth conditions.

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3 Ways to Recession-Proof the Education Technology Department

Article | August 4, 2022

Schools are an integral part of society, with roots entrenched in the economy and an unquestionable role to play in building the future of the country. The Great Recession in the mid-2000s demonstrated that while federal stimulus can promote the adoption of technology in public education budgets, during recessionary periods it becomes a challenge to continue building and maintaining technologically well-equipped schools. As we move into another recession, educational technology leaders will have many tough decisions to make as they attempt to keep the impact of an economic slowdown away from the classroom. Technology leaders in schools must understand that the surge in demand for technology to maintain remote learning will not mitigate the decision to cut costs. To avoid affecting critical pieces of the technology department, here are three ways to recession-proof the technology department. Outline the Costs Well in Advance Technology isn’t cheap and it can make a dent in your education budget if not planned for. This is why it’s necessary to outline the costs, and maintain a budget for the renewal of standard hardware and software in order to leverage bulk buying discounts later. Determine the Must-have Tech Positions An economic slowdown will undoubtedly lead to some difficult conversations about which positions are crucial for the school. To avoid making the wrong moves, develop a clear blueprint of the roles and responsibilities of the positions that support every program. This will ensure you are able to anticipate the impact of a budget cut on the IT team. Avoid Yearly Renewal Contracts During a recession, many tech vendors experience an increase in operating costs that are then passed on to schools and districts. Consider signing multi-year contracts to lock-in costs at stable pricing. You might want to think about multi-year contracts for tech partnerships in areas like data management systems, assessment and student information, and teaching programs. The recession is inevitably causing uncertainty, and the technology budget will remain a live wire, especially considering the fiscal aftermath left by the pandemic. For technology leaders, the goal must be to avoid the lasting effect of budget cuts on the technology department. Investing in multi-year pricing contracts, identifying critical team roles, and budgeting for renewals well in advance can alleviate some of the impacts.

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How to Counter Teacher Burnout in Education?

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Teacher burnout has become a massive challenge for many educational institutions. According to the National Education Association, 55% of the teachers surveyed are considering quitting their profession much earlier than planned. Over 600,000 teachers have already quit in the span of 2020 and 2021. Educational institutions must prepare to identify burnout and ensure teachers successfully create an inclusive, engaging learning experience. Recognizing the Signs of Teacher Burnout Laurie Santos, a professor at Yale University and a cognitive scientist, says that burnout has three major symptoms. Being Emotionally Exhausted Emotional exhaustion is when a person feels exhausted and burned out even after a full night’s sleep. Depersonalizing Santos equates depersonalizing with feeling high levels of cynicism towards others. Individuals who are depersonalizing often feel annoyed at people requesting them to doing something that is part of their regular role. This frustration signals burnout. Reduced Personal Efficacy When an individual feels like she isn’t making a difference or she isn’t doing her job well, a sort of disenchantment sets in. To the individual, it may feel like they aren’t being effective at their work, and this is a sign of burnout. How Teachers Can Reduce Burnout Teacher burnout must be treated as a serious issue. Educational institutions and teachers should team up to ensure they don’t undergo burnout. Here are some ways to do that: Don’t Ignore It Organizations must have a system in place so teachers can seek the help they need to treat their burnout symptoms. A lot of teachers tend to ignore negative emotions in order to keep working, but this is the wrong approach. Just as screen time must be regulated for children, teachers need to regulate their workloads. Instead of sweeping it under the rug, acknowledge it and treat it so you can bounce back higher. Don’t Attach Your Identity to Your Job Santos says that burnout is sometimes a result of being unable to separate your identity from your job. This is something that happens a lot with educators. A way to treat it is to spend off time with friends, engage in hobbies unrelated to your profession, or invest more energy in other life roles, like being a parent. To Conclude In the age of remote learning, teachers and educators must be careful not to let their love of teaching hurt their physical and mental health. As a profession, teaching tends to take its toll. When you combine that with teacher shortages and cases of overwork, education becomes a high risk, high turnover industry.

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5 Strategies for Schools to Win an Education Grant

Article | June 15, 2022

With so many competing districts and schools, getting an education grant can be a tough nut to crack. However, crafting an effective strategy can make the process simpler. Here are five strategies to adopt to ensure you’re on track to win that education grant your school needs. Aligning School Needs with the Education Grant Funder’s Vision When applying for an education grant, it is essential to be aware of the grant funder’s vision. Ask yourself, do you understand their mission and vision? Is the particular grant and ideal match for your school? Most people forget to take into consideration the funder’s vision when making a plan, making a critical mistake in the process. Ensuring the Plan Conforms with the School’s Long-term Plan Your school’s long-term plans must align with the project or plan you’re seeking the grant for. Providing a substantial basis for your grant request is bound to create the right impression. Funders want to know if their grant still makes sense for your school a few years down the line. Defining the Outcomes that the Grant Will Serve Your students are at the heart of your school and highlighting how the grant will benefit them, why it will benefit them, what type of students it is going to impact and the achievements and learning they will experience will help demonstrate your school’s desirability to be the grant recipient. Outlining the Team Capabilities, Contributions and Expertise The right team can make or break your proposal. This is because when you have the right people on the team, you’ll be able to make a better case for the support and tools you need to empower them to do their best. Emphasizing the right mix of people is an important part of a grant request, whether it's for financial help or tools for professional growth. Highlighting How Technology Will Benefit All Stakeholders Instead of focusing on the technology you need, give emphasis to your plans and their outcomes in the long run. Many schools make the mistake of preparing the grant proposal as a wish list instead of illustrating why they need what they need. Mentioning how the technology will support your plan leaves a lasting impression. One Last Tip Proceed with the grant criteria in mind when you craft the proposal. This will ensure that every plan you include addresses the grant’s goal and will bump up the chances of making a successful proposal.

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L&D and Higher Education: A Long Overdue Partnership

Article | July 11, 2022

When it comes to staying competitive in an ever-evolving market, workforce management is a significant contributor. And what keeps a workforce agile and transformation-ready? A Gallup study revealed it’s learning and development. L&D that encompasses reskilling, upskilling, strength-based learning and higher education support result in a 73% attrition rate, according to Gallup. At the same time, it yields a 23% higher employee engagement rate and 18% higher productivity. So there’s no doubt that L&D initiatives are a win-win for companies and their employees. And there might be a way to get the most out of the benefits by working with colleges and universities. Here are just a few collaborations in the educational space that aim to meet demand for skills and talent in their local and regional communities. The Marion Community To break down organizational barriers, a powerful partnership between Marion Technical College, Tri-Rivers Career Center, Ohio State University at Marion, superintendents of all local school districts, Ohio Means Jobs, Marion CANDO! economic development, the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, and industry partners is working together to address the needs of the local labor market. LED FastStart’s Approach to L&D LED Fast Start is a top-ranking workforce recruitment and training program in the U.S. The organization is renowned for pioneering acclaimed training programs to fulfill the demand for an ongoing workforce pipeline. It has also partnered with multiple organizations, including the Southern University at Shreveport for aviation programs, and the Grambling State University for programs in computer science and cybersecurity. LED FastStart is also driving a partnership with the Nunez Community as well as NASA and Boeing. For example, students at the college are working at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility to build rockets in collaboration with Boeing. Training a Workforce in the Western NY Wilds Alfred University offers the best undergraduate and graduate programs in advanced ceramics technology, glass technology, and renewable energy. A fantastic resource for highly specialized employers in New York State's Advanced Ceramics sector is the university's Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT). Through education in ceramics, glass, renewable energy, and materials science, the CACT creates a pipeline of talent. Through funded student internships, they can minimize businesses' expenses by providing experiential training with research and manufacturing-grade equipment. To Summarize Where one-size-fits-all L&D programs fall short, higher education fills the gaps. There is an emerging trend of educational institutions that offer tailored partnerships to help businesses train their workforce in new and upcoming skills. Forward-looking businesses must grab the opportunity and tap into these learning and development partnerships to fulfill their workforce upskilling and reskilling needs.

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Spotlight

Vedantu

Vedantu is a live online tutoring platform that enables personalized learning. Vedantu uses technology to bring together teachers and students on a single platform to enable live learning between them. On Vedantu student can select from a huge pool of quality teachers. Vedantu has technology tools which enables teachers to provide LIVE teaching to students in an interactive manner using whiteboard, audio and video technology. The company is very focused on technology and has created in-house product which is very optimized for low bandwidth conditions.

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n2y Provides Pathway for Independent Learning Through New Academic Intervention Curriculum Solution, Inspire

n2y LLC | October 04, 2022

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Thoma Bravo Completes Sale of Frontline Education to Roper Technologies

Frontline Education | October 06, 2022

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n2y Provides Pathway for Independent Learning Through New Academic Intervention Curriculum Solution, Inspire

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n2y, provider of comprehensive, technology-powered solutions for students with unique learning challenges, today launches Inspire, a new academic intervention curriculum that guides struggling and at-risk students from teacher-led instruction to independent learning as they acquire the skills they need for success in school and life.The new solution equips educators with research-based instructional strategies that support the development of key academic, critical-thinking and generalization skills that will ultimately help to close learning gaps. Inspire gives teachers efficient assessments to pinpoint the skill gaps, along with lesson plans, explicit instructional resources and interactive activities to address them. Inspire is aligned with key standards in English language arts and math for kindergarten through second grade, where research shows the greatest area of need. Resources for grades K-2 are available now with grades 3-5 available in January 2023. "Inspire proves that struggling and at-risk students can make tremendous gains with the right support, It provides a pathway for students to build confidence as teachers gradually give learners more control - from explicit instruction to guided practice and independent learning." n2y Chief Innovation Officer, Alli Vice. Inspire is aligned to general education standards and can be used across the school — from special education classrooms and resource rooms to those receiving RTI intervention in general education classrooms. It improves student engagement by extending learning beyond the classroom setting and across subject areas, and serves the needs of all students, regardless of their strengths and areas for growth. It also saves teachers time by creating detailed reports showing student progress and growth for students with individualized education programs (IEP), and can help monitor progress for response to intervention (RTI). And because Inspire offers instruction, assessment and reporting capabilities, schools no longer invest time and resources on multiple solutions. Through Inspire: Students achieve meaningful outcomes through an evidence-based active learning approach that supports generalization. Teachers meet the needs of every learner with highly efficient assessments that pinpoint skill gaps, facilitate differentiated intervention and provide critical performance data. Administrators demonstrate RTI success and IEP compliance with progress monitoring tools and reports that convey student progress and growth across a school or district. Inspire was designed to reach the needs of students who are struggling and require extra, focused support to learn," Ed Holmes, CEO said. "We can't wait to empower educators with this solution so they can close the learning gaps and get students back on track. About n2y n2y is changing the lives of special education administrators and teachers, therapists and paraprofessionals, and all the students they serve. Its award-winning solutions are designed specifically to address the needs of the whole child and help unique learners meet their state's standards. Multiple integrated, evidence- and research-based solutions empower educators to teach and students to achieve. Differentiated, standards-based academic instruction, enhanced by proactive behavior management, combines with collaborative IEP development to support learning for every student.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Connect For Education, Inc. Announces the 'Online Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer' Initiative

Connect for Education, Inc. (C4E) | October 06, 2022

Connect for Education, Inc. (C4E), a leading provider of online learning technologies, is proud to announce its partnership with American River College, Sacramento, CA (ARC) that will provide students with a curriculum path to obtain an Associate in Arts in Music for Transfer degree (AA-T) that will transfer to any state university and admit them as a Junior. This new partnership provides students the opportunity to take some or all of their courses through C4E's digital platforms. The courses include four semesters of Music Theory and Musicianship (I-IV), Applied Music (including one-on-one mentor sessions), and Performance Ensembles. By completing this set of 21 - 24 music units, along with 36 – 39 additional units of general electives, students will earn a total of 60 credit hours that will automatically transfer to their new state institution. "The program is unique in that it offers unparalleled flexibility for students in how they choose to take their courses. This platform is the ultimate implementation of 20+ years' worth of instructional design and development experience. The Music Theory and ear training courses have been meticulously designed to provide a solid foundation for music students. The Applied Music courses come complete with four semesters of specialized curricula for a variety of instruments and voice. Students can record themselves for peer review and take synchronous lessons with a well-qualified, seasoned instructor. It even includes a jury component whereby performances are judged by a panel at the end of the semester. The Ensemble Course provides collaboration opportunities for instrumentalists and vocalists that otherwise might not be available to them and all at a low cost per-student with equitable access for everyone." Dr. Carlos Maldonado, Chief Learning Architect and co-founder of C4E The initial stages of the program are currently being piloted this fall semester at ARC and more advanced courses will be added in subsequent semesters. While the initial courses were tailored to ARC's specifications, they are customizable for the specific curriculum of any community college and can be implemented immediately. C4E will be expanding the program across community colleges in California as well as other states. The program expansion will unlock possibilities for students to attend four-year institutions in cost-effective blended learning manner, while obtaining the foundations of music through C4E's transformative platforms. About Connect For Education Connect For Education Inc. (C4E) is an education technology company serving both academic and professional clients since 2001. C4E offers an extensive catalog of configurable online academic courses adopted at over 400 educational institutions annually. C4E enables personalized digital learning experiences powered in C4E's proprietary Learning Management System (LMS) – C4E Link – along with active learning tools. Like C4E Bridge, C4E Link is one of a variety of proprietary learning platforms that enables integration into multiple major LMSs via Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI). In addition to serving the academic market, C4E designs, develops, publishes, hosts, interactive online courses for US government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations to enhance training, continuing education, and Executive and Professional Education programs.

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