Device usage in K-12 education has been one of the key factors to ensuring the continuation of learning during the pandemic. Schools flocked to devices as a way to provide families with resources to access all materials needed for online learning. Devices have created a new way of learning for K-12 education as teachers, parents, and students are all learning how to navigate the technology together. The impact devices have had in the K-12 education world is much more than educators could have imagined before remote learning. Devices have impacted the educational world so much that educators now foresee a new normal of using devices and technology in everyday learning, even after the transition back into the classroom. 

Impact of Devices:

On Learning Environment

The format of traditional learning used to be done in an in-person setting with a teacher at the front of the room. During a time of public health safety concerns, classrooms have now transitioned into a digital setting, taking place remotely. As educators implement devices and technology into their in-person and remote classrooms, they have begun to see the impact that devices have on the learning environment, both positive and negative. 

Let’s start with the positive:

The push for technology and device implementation into classrooms has been gaining traction in recent years. Now, because of the pandemic, technology is almost absolutely necessary to provide instruction. Educators have created online classrooms using tools specifically designed by educators for remote learning. Teachers have excelled in being creative and innovative to re-create an in-person learning experience while virtual and do their best to keep students engaged and excited about learning.

Now the negative:

The biggest struggle that educators have been having with using devices remotely is keeping students engaged. Remote and hybrid instruction has been a learning curve for all parties involved in K-12 education. Distractions are a huge factor in the decrease in student engagement now that most students are learning from home. Teachers and students are learning about the technology at the same time and adjusting in their own ways. For some, this transition has been a difficult adjustment. Navigating the right tactics that work in conjunction with students and the devices has put a lot of extra work and responsibility on the teacher and tech coaches to make learning exciting and effective. 

On Students

School-issued devices have helped many students continue their coursework at home, especially for those who would not have had access to a device or internet otherwise. Students are now unknowingly learning about technology through their online instruction. Technological skill sets for future careers are something that could set these students apart from other candidates. Devices have also allowed students to engage in the material in many new ways. Video conferences, audio messages, and discussion boards are some of the new ways of learning that devices provide.

On Teachers

The biggest impact that devices have made on teachers is the urgency to expand their knowledge in edtech. Professional development (PD) has been a top priority for educators and PD opportunities have been popping up all over social media. Devices have created a new realm for K-12 education. With devices, teachers have the ability to stay in touch with students and colleagues remotely, as well as provide resources from the comfort of their homes to students and parents, almost more effectively than if they were in the classroom. Parents and students are able to access these resources whenever they need them since all the information is just at the click of a button. Time efficiency has increased amongst educators with information output. 

Teachers have been making strides with technology in their classrooms by creating tools, lessons, and all sorts of resources to create compatibility with technology, comfortably. Those teachers who transitioned into the edtech world with little to no prior knowledge of technology, have seen many roadblocks during their transition into remote or hybrid learning. Some are still working towards finding edtech tools, devices, and tactics that work well for themselves, their students, and their classroom. 

On Technology Teams

Device usage had been one of the leading factors in the increased responsibility and need for technology teams within a district or school. Teachers need support with technology, especially if they have little knowledge on how to effectively use technology in their classrooms. The tech coach and instructional coach roles are imperative to effective device and technology integration. Technology teams impact how well or poor device usage is doing in a school. If teachers do not know how to use the technology or how to explain how to use the technology to parents and students, proficient learning cannot be achieved. Tech teams play a crucial role in curriculum creation, device implementation, and lesson planning for successful learning.

On Administration

Because administration plays a behind-the-scenes role in education, popping into a classroom during the school day becomes an obstacle when remote learning is implemented. Now with devices administrators are able to monitor classrooms and student work with software, like Dyknow, that supports virtual learning. Device monitoring and the ability to chat over video-call are ways that administrators can interact with their students and staff from a remote setting. 

Devices have truly impacted K-12 education in recent years in ways that are continuously transforming what education looks like. While device usage has posed many obstacles, educators are consistently overcoming these hurdles and realizing how beneficial technology is for the advancement of overall learning.

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