The term “educational technologies” refers to the use of technological resources to improve teaching and facilitate access to education.
If we analyze the current educational scenario, we will find that institutions, teachers and independent professionals are increasingly connected, making use of these technologies to transmit knowledge and improve their students’ learning.
After all, in a time when the internet, technological advances and ease of access to information have become popularized, we can’t keep following the same teaching methods of the past.
If you are interested in the subject, make sure you read this post. We will show you 11 ways to use educational technologies to improve your online classes.
The evolution of education
When we talk about the evolution of education, we normally only associate it with the use of the internet and computers. However, we must also consider the advances that took place before online technologies.
If we look back in time, we have a totally verbal teaching and learning method, when teachers and students had no other tool other than speech to transmit knowledge.
Subsequently, with the arrival of the blackboard, chalk and individual slates, the situation changed.
The teaching of the lessons became simultaneous and students began to enjoy the benefit of seeing and writing what was being taught, which greatly facilitated the assimilation of the content.
Over the years, books and notebooks began to be used and the context was becoming modernized, until we reached the white model for writing with pens.
The emergence of radio and television has also resulted in transformations in education. Institutions brought films, videos and programs into the classroom to discuss subjects relevant to the class subjects and to make the learning environment more dynamic.
However, it was the arrival of computers and the Internet that further expanded the range of options for teachers, who began to have access to new resources to convey knowledge.
Projectors, for example, have made it possible to display slides and other visual content, and are often used to enrich lessons.
With the resources becoming increasingly advanced and accessible, education began to incorporate new tools into the teaching environment.
Nowadays, it is common to find classrooms equipped with at least one Internet access point and a computer.
In addition, the number of students who have smartphones, tablets and notebooks for classes also keeps growing.
The use of educational technologies has thus become crucial for institutions and teachers who seek to offer the best to students. They serve to transform the teaching-learning space into something more modern, dynamic and interactive.
The study of educational technologies
The science of Educational Technology seeks to understand the influences of technological resources on education and to understand the most efficient ways of using them in processes related to learning.
Today’s students do not learn like students in the past learned, when classes were only verbal, without any visual resources.
We constantly connected, absorbing and interacting with content in videos, images and audios, exposed to thousands of stimuli every second. It would be naive to think that in the classroom we would be able to turn off this reality and remain in a rigid and unidirectional form of education.
From a pedagogical perspective, educational technologies have come to facilitate not only the transmission, but also the acquisition of knowledge.
The goal is to turn content into something lighter, easier to access and consume, so that students can assimilate everything that is being conveyed.
The use of technology within the educational environment also serves as a mediator for the construction of knowledge, since it connects teachers, students and content in a way that isn’t always possible in offline teaching.
Although the application of technological resources in education is relatively recent, and is constantly improving, educators have already realized the benefits they provide to the learning process and have begun to adapt their methods to include them.
Relationship between educational technologies and distance education
It is impossible to talk about distance education without thinking about educational technologies.
The distance education methodology wouldn’t be possible without the progress of technological resources that allow and facilitate the sharing of knowledge regardless of physical barriers.
If distance education used to be a rare reality, used by few institutions to offer certain virtual materials to students, nowadays, the reality is quite different.
Institutions and educators are investing in distance education to offer comprehensive courses and to completely transforming the teaching and learning methodology.
We cannot affirm that the classroom format is outdated or that the day will come when it will be completely disused.
However, educational technologies have opened up a world of new opportunities for those seeking knowledge and need to access it simply and quickly.
There are several resources to help those working with online classes to offer their content with quality and practicality for students.
The following are the best options:
A good lesson is defined not only by the content transmitted, but also by the relationship created between students and teachers, and by the possibility of interaction between them.
Many people think that this exchange doesn’t take place in distance education. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.
A discussion forum is one of the most important educational technologies for Distance Education, precisely because it brings this communication space from the physical environment to the virtual.
With forums, students can clarify their doubts, ask for help, share knowledge and interact with their classmates and teachers.
Of course, in order for forums to play their part effectively, teachers also need to be active.
This is the environment for answering questions, sharing supplementary materials, curiosities, and various other pertinent information that encourages student engagement.
This is an interesting tool, not only to evaluate learning, but also to make it more dynamic and interactive.
The application of quizzes, even when they don’t aim to grade student in a particular subject, works as a stimulus for a constant improvement.
Normally, these questionnaires are made up of multiple-choice questions and the teacher can opt to show the correct answers at the end, so that students can see and understand what they are getting wrong.
There is also the possibility of grading students symbolically and leaving messages that explain their performance in that quiz, congratulating or encouraging them to resume their studies to improve their score.
You may have noticed that one of the trends in the digital environment is the use of infographics.
People have increasingly invested on this type of visual content to convey knowledge, since they are basically made up of eye-catching and objective images and texts.
This makes it easier for people to consume that content and absorb its information.
Using this format in your online classes is a way of synthesizing information, especially statistical data, which is normally harder to be absorbed.
In addition, well-done and interesting infographics are very likely to be sent by students to other people, because they are attractive, easily consumed and shared.
And why is this interesting for an online teacher?
The more people who know about his/her authority in the niche in which he/she operates, the greater the chances of attracting new students and gaining market space.
Most of the online courses we find nowadays are in video format, due to the ease they provide to explain content in detail and demonstrate the step-by-step process of a tutorial, for example.
In addition, videos are a great way to create a closer bond with the audience.
Teachers can add several features to make the material more interactive, such as surveys, quizzes and evaluations that allow students to respond in real time by clicking on the video content itself.
This interactivity works not only to increase student engagement, but also to keep all the content in one format, which helps reduce distractions.
Digital books are also a great way to convey knowledge.
This format is often chosen by teachers who have difficulty expressing themselves in front of cameras and prefer written communication.
However, they can also be produced together with other formats such as video add-ons and podcasts.
The creation of e-books requires low financial investments, since it is a predominantly written material and therefore, uses few tools.
Another benefit is that the student only needs to download it once and can access it at any time without having to reconnect to the internet.
Usually, the subjects covered in an e-book are more extensive and detailed, but they don’t have to be tiresome and boring.
In order to create an interesting ebook, add images related to the subject covered, use language that is suitable to your audience, and share content that truly adds value and grabs the attention of readers.
Another way to use educational technologies to your advantage is by creating templates.
A template is a structured page to be followed as a template in creating a particular type of content. It is formed by the set of files necessary so that the person can add information and edit what is needed.
Depending on the subject of your classes, you can design a linked template so your student can follow that template when creating his/her own product.
If you teach subjects related to financial management for example, you can create worksheets so your students can organize the managed data exactly as you taught them.
This strategy, in addition to serving as an incentive and a facilitator for students, is a way for teachers to promote their brand, since templates can (and should) be created with your visual identity.
As the name suggests, a webinar is a seminar or lecture delivered online.
In this format, the teacher performs a live broadcast online of their knowledge to all enrolled students or may, if they prefer, invite an expert to talk to them about a specific subject and interest of their audience.
An interesting point of this type of format is that it helps the professional to strengthen his authority and gain the trust of the students. After all, in webinars, the teacher has the chance to show their knowledge in real time and create a closer relationship with people.
Creating a webinar doesn’t require a huge financial investment, but planning is essential.
Since it takes place live, the teacher needs to set aside a date and promote it to all interested parties.
In addition, he/she needs to create a script, to know exactly what he/she will cover and not to forget any important detail when speaking.
The better you prepare, the easier it will be to convey a professional image and deliver something valuable to your students during this lecture.
Live streams basically work as webinars because they serve for the online broadcast and live streaming of knowledge.
However, they are broadcast on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, which make them have a less corporate and more informal aspect.
Nothing prevents a teacher from using this resource to make their classes more dynamic; after all, social media is present in the lives of virtually all Internet users.
In order to make live streams, the teacher will also need to be organized in advance to prepare complete and attractive content and disseminate it to his/her students.
We have just talked about live streams, which are a great alternative for those who teach online class.
However, social media has other resources that can also be used by the teacher to attract students and encourage engagement.
Developing creative posts with interesting content related to your classes is a way to show users your mastery and credibility in the subject.
In social media, the most successful content are images, videos and short texts, since the focus is on the practically instantaneous assimilation of information.
In the midst of so many profiles and other publications, the teacher needs to stand out with quality, attractive and truly valuable material.
Blogs are other interesting channels for teachers to share their knowledge and gain user trust.
A page with well-written posts and following SEO rules can position itself well in search engines and gain visibility.
Blogs serve as a gateway for new students who, by identifying with the published content, may also be interested in other materials by the teacher, including his/her Distance Education course.
In addition, blog posts can be developed to complement online class content and enrich student learning.
Teachers can prepare unique content, share news stories, articles and other information that keep students engaged and dedicated to their studies, even outside the classroom platform.
Podcasts are another way to use educational technologies to diversify communication with students.
This is an audio content that can be listened to by users at any time and from wherever he/she is.
So if your students have a busy routine and prefer easy-to-consume materials, podcasts are a great way to convey knowledge.
Podcasts can be listened to while students are in traffic, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, performing other activities or at the gym, for example.
Teachers can use them as the basis for their classes, as an alternative to other formats or as extra material.
Interviews, reviews and language lessons are some of the good options to be developed in this format.
Distance Education Platform
During this post, we talked about how educational technologies have transformed teaching and have facilitated the relationship between teachers, students and content.
However, in order for the distance learning process to be truly effective, in addition to investing in the development of classes, it is necessary to choose the best place to host them.
The ideal tool for online courses is a Distance Education platform, which provides peace of mind for users with personalized features and a good virtual learning environment.
There are different platform options on the market, each with its own specifications. Therefore, it is important to understand well what a good platform needs to have before choosing where you will make your content available.
Do you want to learn more about this subject? Read our post that explains in detail how to choose the right Distance Education platform for your online course.