Technology became a lifeline for students overnight. The results have taught us valuable lessons about its role in the future of education – both immediately and in the longer term. We look at new research findings, and explain how to take a smarter approach going forward.
“When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling.” John Taylor Gatto, author and 30-year school teacher
It’s safe to say that we’re in the middle of an education revolution. The role of technology was already on the rise when, in March 2020, everything changed. Suddenly, 1.37 billion pupils worldwide were learning from home. Now, some classrooms have returned. But after months of putting tech at the centre of teaching, what have we learnt?
What the research says
A new study by the University of Birmingham has found that technology-enhanced education has some big advantages. Video teaching, especially, can help students recap subjects and keep tips fresh in their minds throughout the learning process. Not only this, but some virtual learning can help students at a lower cost, by refocusing teacher time away from more repetitive tasks.
The study found that these advantages should be considered carefully alongside the traditional strengths of in-person teaching. Collaboration, for example, can be tricky to perfect online. Many remote-learning set-ups can slip into highly passive formats, which leads students to disengage.
How to make learning smarter
1. Put the ‘free will’ into remote learning
While some online teaching can be quite passive, the right technology can actually give students more choice and agency over their learning – whether they’re working remotely or in person.
Teachers can provide different interactive tasks with similar content, using tools like ActiveLearn and Newsela. So, students can explore and choose for themselves, without creating a huge workload for teachers.
Tools like Edpuzzle can also help. It lets you build interactive lessons from any video. You can track your pupils’ engagement, and help them learn through fun content. The tool also allows students to set their own pace for learning.
2. See your students better
With physical learning, teachers and professors can see when students are distracted or confused. Online, that seems difficult. But actually, there are ways to echo the in-person experience in the virtual world.
LanSchool Air, for example, allows teachers to see what each student has on screen during the session. Teachers can block students from certain websites for the duration of the lesson, or limit all internet use to approved websites. They can also message pupils one-to-one with prompts or to help them with a task.
Used in the right way, tools like this can help you embrace the best bits of remote teaching – without the drawbacks.
3. Create strong foundations for the future
You can put every measure in place for a perfect virtual classroom. But ultimately, pupils can’t take full advantage of those leaning experiences without up-to-date devices. Plus, you can’t keep them (and your institution) protected if you’re not in control of device security.
Lenovo Winbooks and Chromebooks are designed to help you create interactive, engaging experiences both in and out of the classroom. The Lenovo 300e Winbook G2, for example, lets students learn their way – with a 360 degree hinge for four different modes, they can choose what works best for everything from artwork to essays. And the Lenovo 100e Chromebook is a budget-friendly way to make sure everyone has access to the best learning tools.
Importantly, you can rely on these devices to keep students learning safely for the long term. They’re durable enough for any knock, drop or spill. They also allow your IT teams to track, assess and protect devices remotely at any time.
To find out more, visit our Lenovo Education Page here.
 University of Birmingham, Teacher Education Modality Rapid Review, August 2020.