Choosing The Best Educational Software Helps Teachers Tackle 3 Of Their Fears And Frustations

11/27/2017

Traditional classrooms are slowly undergoing a transformation, using technology to save time, and yield better results. This article breaks down the various needs and challenges educators are facing within the corporate sector, and offers guidance on choosing the best education software.

The flipped classroom is a popular approach to teaching and learning, where teachers can digitize their lectures and reuse traditional teaching time for meaningful conversations with students.

We do not advocate replacing classrooms or teachers with technology; it simply doesn’t work that way. We highly value the teacher’s role in any organization. But we recommend that teachers use the power of technology to digitize aspects of their jobs, such as lectures, notes, and corrections, and use their precious time in student interaction and research.

How do you go about choosing software to begin this process? Based on market and user research, we have identified some needs that lead teachers to use educational software.

Case Study: What Are The Challenges?

Here’s a case study of a typical teacher who aspires to use technology in the flipped classroom, but faces a number of challenges. Let's call her Rebecca Green:

Rebecca Green is an ambitious higher secondary school teacher based in Cambridge, UK. She is keen to implement flipped classroom approach and would like to blend her teaching practices with the right balance of eLearning tools. She has very limited IT exposure, and has no time for adopting complicated eLearning technology. However, she perceives a huge value in digitalizing her lectures and integrating her current learning assets into an online format that her students can refer to at their convenience. This way, she plans to free up her lecture time and spend meaningful time with students, helping them to think about their assignments and practice. 

This should act as a shopping list that clarifies what you really want.

Let’s address her common fears and frustrations:

Fear 1: Technical Barriers

Design, authoring, and learning management tools have come a long way. Many have taken the need for simplicity into account, and offer a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface where elements can be rearranged and content authored instantly.

Choose tools that:

  • Avoid technical jargon, if it comes off more difficult than PowerPoint, move to a different tool.
  • Offer code-free content creation and offer intuitive user interfaces, so that teachers can flip the classroom easily, without spending too much time figuring out a new workflow.
  • Let teachers author and publish straight away, without the hassle of coding and uploading to learning management systems. Also, make sure the tooling is suitable for publishing on every device: Smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

Fear 2: Adoption Of New Tools - Steep Learning Curve And Too Many Features

Many authoring tools come with a host of features including learner interaction, animations, color swatches, characters, and gaming elements. These are valuable in terms of creating learner engagement in a no-teacher asynchronous environment. However, a flipped classroom offers significant scope for teacher-student interaction, so there is no need for a rich feature set. Choose simple, minimalist authoring tools like Easygenerator, with its no-nonsense interface and basic engagement features that let you focus on authoring content. These should let you:

  • Integrate your existing material into Word, PowerPoint, or other media files.
  • Collaborate in a shared workspace, so all teachers can use the same updated curriculum and improve the overall quality of their lessons.
  • Add easy quizzes and other assessments to practice.
  • Track students’ progress with a report function.

Fear 3: Complex Installation And IT Dependency

Choose tools that support the following:

  • Web-based access, involving no installation or plugins. This is easy to get started with and requires very little learning time.
  • Simple one-click hosting, so your content is not vulnerable to hardware failures. Easygenerator has its own server for this purpose.
  • Publication to any device, Learning Management System, the web/cloud, social media, or as a shareable link. That way, students can access your lessons on a school computer, or their own smartphone or tablet.

By Kasper Spiro

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