When school districts allow technology to play a role in teaching and learning, the results can be beneficial. The question, though, is what role should those platforms play? And how can schools ensure they’re not investing their limited resources into yet another platform that won’t truly help students become successful learners?
Technology has been used for years as a way to supplement students’ learning, but recently it’s grown beyond simply assisting teachers by allowing them to access information or grade assignments. Now virtual learning platforms are emerging as the next big trend in education technology.
These platforms allow instructors to upload course materials and deliver them to their classrooms. Students can take quizzes, complete homework assignments, and keep track of their grades all online.
Challenges of Short-Staffed Schools
Even though using virtual learning platforms might seem like a logical solution for schools with limited resources, such as short-staffed districts or those who can’t afford to hire more teachers and technology coordinators, it’s important to ensure any technology purchased is worth the investment.
One of the biggest concerns facing education today is that students cannot access effective instruction in the classroom.
Technology is an important tool that can help address this problem, but when it’s not properly implemented or planned for in schools, it does more harm than good.
7 Ways EdTech Can Help Short-Staffed Schools
Here are some ways that virtual learning platforms can specifically help short-staffed schools make the most out of their technology.
1. Improve communication between teachers and students.
Using a virtual learning platform allows all the information from a course to be stored in one location, rather than being scattered across different platforms. This makes it easy for teachers to review student progress while also being accessible for students to check on their grades and assignments at any given time.
2. Increase productivity and student engagement.
Virtual learning platforms increase class time spent on activities other than going over homework or grading assignments. Instead, instructors can have students complete individual assignments on the platform during class time while also being able to monitor their progress in real-time through a dashboard.
3. Provide instant feedback.
The ability for students to receive instant feedback on their assignments makes it possible for students, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status, to succeed.
4. Connect with other professionals in the same field online and offline.
Platforms can provide a space where teachers can interact with each other and share ideas and best practices. These platforms essentially create an online community that can serve as a resource for teachers, allowing them to gain support from their peers and giving them opportunities to collaborate on lessons.
5. Increase access to materials.
Virtual learning platforms allow students and teachers at all schools, regardless of whether they’re low-income or rural schools, to have access to the same high-quality course materials. If the platform is properly curated, students won’t be forced to use course materials that are not aligned with their teacher’s lessons or ones that don’t work on their devices.
6. Prioritize curriculum development and performance assessment.
By enabling a more personalized learning experience, virtual learning platforms allow teachers to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses so they can determine what skills need strengthening and which ones have already been mastered.
7. Upgrade technology in schools with limited budgets.
Taking advantage of EdTech tools doesn’t necessarily mean schools have to purchase new devices just yet. Virtual learning platforms can be used on existing devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. If students don’t have access to these devices at home, virtual learning platforms allow them to still be able to complete homework and learn with ease.
Strategies for Schools to Attract New Teachers
The lack of qualified teachers is one of the biggest concerns facing schools today, and it’s something that can’t be fixed with technology or money alone. Instead, schools must work together to create a culture where teachers are supported and initiatives are put in place to retain high-quality instructors while also attracting top talent.
One way schools can attract new teachers is by cultivating an environment where people want to work. Organizations like the National Education Association, for example, offer professional development opportunities and long-term career paths. Another way schools can attract new teachers is by building stronger regional connections with each other, giving teachers unique opportunities to have their voices heard about the issues they face daily.
Another strategy for schools to use is also one that should be shared among different education organizations: implementing mentorship programs between students and teachers, especially at times when students need guidance or support from an adult. Mentorship programs serve as an extra hand in a child’s education, allowing teachers to build stronger relationships with their students.
Although these are just some strategies that schools are employing to attract new teachers, all of them require hard work and collaboration between both school administration and the teaching community, which is something many educators have expressed to be crucial when it comes to ensuring students’ success.
Technology has so much to offer schools, but only when educators can see past the lack of funding and limited resources they have. Instead of thinking about what they can’t do because their school doesn’t have enough money or access to certain tools, educators need to come together to change this paradigm.
SchoolCues is an all-in-one school management system for small schools with limited budgets and resources. Our solutions include admissions and enrollment, online payments, student information system, gradebook, communications, parent engagement, donations and fundraising, alumni management and more. Schedule a demo with us today.