Jul 21 2022

3 Questions to Ask When Choosing Technology for the College Classroom

Before investing in innovative tech, here’s what you should know to gain benefits for professors and students.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw many college professors rushing to use a variety of ed tech tools when making the major transition to a fully virtual learning environment. Due to this unprecedented global crisis, time was of the essence, and in-depth training for these tools was scarce, making it hard to determine exactly which tech options would prove most beneficial for professors and students alike.

When evaluating an ed tech tool, it’s essential to keep in mind that technology should not replace pedagogy. While professors can sometimes be apprehensive when introducing new tech into the classroom, leveraging crucial technology within the learning process helps students acquire and reinforce knowledge many hours after a lecture has ended.

When identifying which ed tech tool to use, I recommend leveraging the Clear, Relevant, and Meaningful evaluation method as a best practice. Ask yourself the three key questions below before making any investment in costly tools.

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1. Is the Goal of the Tool Clear?

Ensuring the tool in question provides clear and concise guidelines for use, including where to go for support and how to get started for professors and students, is essential.

Check to see if any accessibility guidelines are in place that can aid learners with special needs who need certain accommodations and make sure the tool is inclusive. The tech tools you choose to implement in your classroom should include all learners, no matter their background or level of understanding.

2. Is the Tool Relevant?

If the tool is not something that will help your students gain applicable skills for their current or future careers in a variety of industries, then you should not consider using it.

It’s also important to see whether the vendor who maintains the tool updates it regularly and listens to consumer recommendations, as feedback is critical to assure ongoing functionality and continued relevance in the college classroom.

READ MORE: How colleges and universities can use instructional studios.

3. Is the Ed Tech Tool Meaningful?

Instead of using a tech tool for the sake of having something innovative in your toolset, make sure it provides meaning to your students and helps them learn on a deeper level. It should be a seamless integration that enhances your content.

The tool should promote engagement while reinforcing key concepts and add value to what is already happening in your classroom.

There are several free ed tech evaluation rubrics available from EdTech Center at World EducationLearnPlatform and Western University, Canada that can help professors make informed decisions to address students’ needs as well as their own.

Using ed tech tools in the classroom is something I rely on heavily as an adjunct professor in the Touro College Graduate School of Technology instructional technology program. The tools can increase student engagement, streamline workflows (including grading), and address social and emotional challenges.

While the pandemic has brought many challenges with it, it’s also highlighted how vital it is to employ ed tech tools that work well for all end users, and that teaching in the current and future educational climate requires technology and pedagogy to seamlessly integrate to provide the best learning experience possible.

Sergio Ingravalle/Ikon Images

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