Tag: Shannon Flynn

How To Enhance Pedagogy With A Technology-Driven Approach

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

With the right technology-driven approach, educators can enhance learning for all students. Over recent years, educators all over the world have tried countless ways of integrating technology in the classroom. Some strategies work better than others, but the key to finding what works best may come down to starting with the right pedagogical approach.

Ask “How”, Not “What”

When educators approach using technology in the classroom, there can be a tendency to dive right into what technology or devices in particular will be used. However, when the goal is to truly enhance pedagogy, this may not be the best way to approach things. Experts suggest that the question educators need to be asking is “how should I integrate technology in the classroom?” rather than “what technology should I use?”

The key to designing a technology-driven approach to pedagogy is focusing on needs in the classroom or needs of students that can be met using technology. Concentrating on the tech first can pull the focus off of the concrete benefits that students will experience. Instead, by identifying specific needs first, educators can design a tech-driven approach with clear goals.

For example, a history teacher may be having consistent trouble getting students interested in learning about the past. Virtual reality would be a great tool for addressing this challenge by allowing students to experience history and historical places from an immersive, first-person perspective. Experts have stressed the importance of embracing change and imagination in education in order for schools to grow through challenges. Trying out new technologies, such as VR, with clear goals in mind is an excellent way to accomplish that.

Engagement and Communication

There are some specific challenges and aspects of pedagogy that technology is particularly useful for improving. While technology can’t solve every problem a teacher may face in the classroom, it can be the perfect tool for addressing certain things. Some prime examples include engagement, interactivity, communication, visibility, and goal setting. These specific areas of education are well suited to the benefits that technology can offer.

Continue Reading

Women’s History Month: How We Can Bridge The Digital Gender Divide

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

In the United States and around the globe, there is a gender divide. There is a clear education gap between men and women and even a technological one. These gaps become even larger chasms when looking at women of color. This leaves the question, on a global level: how do we bridge the education gap using technology?

What Is the Digital Gender Divide?

Before we can begin to look for solutions to the digital gender divide, we must first understand what it is. The technology gap itself can be broken up into two key components:

Globally, girls and women will have less access to technology than the other gender. This problem is exacerbated in developing countries.

Several factors can cause a lack of access for women, but the largest factor is stereotyping. In many countries, technology is not believed to be for women and many fear its usage would lead to discrimination from their male counterparts.

When it comes to global internet usage, 12.5% fewer women use the internet than men.

What Is Gender Equality in Education?

There is also a gender gap when it comes to education. Like the digital technology gap, there again must be a solid understanding of the vast disparity between genders in the classroom as well as equal access to the classroom.

While the education gap has shrunk in many highly educated countries, it persists globally. Globally, 16 million girls will never enter a classroom, and women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.

Even in the United States, this education gap persists between black women and their white counterparts, both in quality of education and access to it. From lack of access to college-ready classes and being concentrated in schools with fewer resources, to the lack of black representation among teachers, the educational gender gap persists for women of color in the United States.

Continue Reading

Managing A Successful BYOD Program For Education: 5 Rules and Recommendations

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Many workplaces and educational institutions have been operating in a high-risk, digital environment due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More schools are considering implementing a bring=your-own device (BYOD) program as a result.

However, school administrators, parents and teachers have some concerns regarding students bringing in their own devices.

Adopting a BYOD program may not be feasible for all schools — whether it’s a lack of resources or poor understanding of how technology can be used in classrooms. Education professionals must learn the ins and outs of a BYOD program before implementing one.

What Is a BYOD Program?

A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program allows students to bring their personal devices into the classroom for educational purposes. These programs are gaining popularity in educational institutions nationwide, and the trend will likely continue.

The Deer Park Independent School District in Texas is a good example. Chief technology officer Kari Rhame Murphy says that the transition to BYOD was surprisingly easy, but only because she and her team spent two years planning for it.

Aside from just schools, it’s not surprising that more employers adopt BYOD programs to benefit their employees. Consider all the people working from home — is it easier to let them use a personal device or issue one from an organization?

Continue Reading

Are Schools Equipped Enough For Online Classes?

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Prior to COVID-19, a mere 34% of schools were offering fully online classes and only 2% of American students were participating in them. However, during the pandemic, 69% of parents said that their kids were receiving hybrid or fully online instruction.

This massive shift to online education happened within a matter of weeks at many schools while others made the transition in just a few days. The rapid adjustment left thousands of teachers struggling to create virtual lesson plans, as most schools were ill-equipped for such a sudden, drastic change.

Now, more than a year has passed and some teachers still feel unprepared for the coming school year.

The Virtual Dilemma

Online classes have come with their fair share of benefits, including personalized instruction, flexible learning schedules and increased access to Advanced Placement classes, electives and more. However, many teachers received little to no training in regard to teaching online classes, so students aren’t able to reap all of these amazing benefits.

A lack of training also means that teachers don’t have the tools or knowledge to create online lesson plans and deliver material in an engaging way. Subsequently, students are bound to struggle to comprehend and remember the material. Ultimately, their letter grades and ACT and SAT scores will reflect this disconnect.

Many students lack access to computers and the internet at home, too. This disparity is most common among minority populations and low-income families. Last year, 7% to 8% of households with students had little to no access to computers or the internet, making remote learning impossible for millions of kids. While educators are working to improve access by providing free laptops and hotspots, they have a long way to go before everyone has an equal opportunity to receive a virtual education.

Continue Reading

5 Interactive Online Whiteboards For Virtual Classrooms

Shannon Flynn

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Some educators are returning to in-person teaching as the coronavirus recedes — or plan to do so during the 2021-2022 school year. However, hybrid and virtual learning isn’t going anywhere fast, and these education methods will likely become a mainstay among primary and secondary schools in the coming years.

This new normal has a majority of parents asking schools to prioritize providing access to consistent, high-quality remote learning. Luckily, the education system can do just that by implementing interactive online whiteboards in the virtual classroom.

Here are a few of the best options for teachers and students alike.

1. Limnu

While Limnu has been around for six years, this online whiteboard was revamped in 2018 when the online meeting app ZipSocket acquired it. This transition gave users more remote features like a canvas with no edges or boundaries. Team collaboration also allows teachers to create groups and share boards for real-time classroom discussions. A bulk editing tool and quick refresh button also add to Limnu’s impressive functionality.

Try Limnu free for 14 days or sign up for the premium plan for just $5 per month per person. Because this application can get a bit pricey, it often works best for one-on-one tutoring or smaller classrooms with fewer students.

Continue Reading

Tech Equity: What It Means For Education

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Shannon Flynn

Though tech is a requirement for today’s students, it’s not a universal luxury. The recent spotlight on tech equity has brought the issue to the forefront of public discourse, opening up an important conversation about the need for new policies.

The pandemic has only brought more attention to the growing disparity among students. Though many had access to digital resources through their school’s library, these tools disappeared when they were asked to learn from home.

An EdWeek Research Center survey helped contextualize the issue. Only 62% of education leaders in districts with poverty rates below 25% said everyone who needed home internet access had it. In those where poverty rates exceeded 75%, the rate of access was 31%.

How can district and school leaders manage the digital divide, and how does tech equity reflect a larger systemic issue?

Understanding the Hurdles Ahead

It’s difficult to argue that technology has made a negative impact on education. However, its absence presents a clear issue — one that continues to increase in proportion to the country’s poverty levels.

Almost 30 million low-income students currently depend on their school for breakfast or lunch. These same children are expected to have digital resources that fall outside their family’s budget, already strained by a pandemic economy.

With these factors at play, tech equity may seem ambitious. Parents may be engaged with other problems, and students don’t have the means to amend their situation. Furthermore, districts are contending with internal challenges.

Educators are planning to build on hard lessons from full-time remote learning, and any gaps in that strategy will soon become clear. Is total online schooling an effective teaching strategy? Will the deficit in tech equity compound into something larger?

Fortunately, there are strategies that offer a potential solution.

Continue Reading

Cybersecurity Crisis: How Education Bore The Brunt of The Pandemic

Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.

Shannon Flynn

By now, it’s hard to imagine a part of everyday life that the COVID-19 pandemic has not upended and altered for the foreseeable future. Working from home, quarantines, and vaccinations — these factors have captured a lot of the public’s attention. However, education has been hit uniquely hard over the past year and deserves more focus.

From kindergarten to higher education, remote learning is now the norm. Though some schools are attempting in-person learning and others are integrating a hybrid model, technology is now a central element. It connects students, parents, teachers, and staff. Unfortunately, not all students have these same resources or access.

Around the world, students struggle with rural connections, low incomes, and humanitarian crises. War and digital illiteracy are still significant issues in many countries. Now that the pandemic has turned people to technology as a resource, the burden is clear. A lack of digital resources is an issue, and a lack of protection for all that data is the second obstacle.

Education faces unique challenges ahead. To solve them, one must first unpack each setback.

Inaccessibility of Virtual Education

As the pandemic reached each country at the end of 2019 and throughout 2020, many schools closed down and switched to virtual learning. Some schools had to shutter completely, with no virtual education resources available. Even with the schools that offer this learning dynamic, not all students have access.

In rural areas, and for students from low-income backgrounds, virtual education may not be a tangible resource. Of New York City’s roughly 114,000 students living in a shelter or with other families, access is not always possible. Slow or insufficient internet connectivity will cause the student to fall behind or not be able to participate at all. Finding a device to begin with may also be a challenge.

However, the pandemic worsens inaccessibility. Due to health precautions and the need for social distancing, shelters may have limited capacity. Additionally, if a student from a low-income background can’t afford health insurance, they may not feel comfortable learning in-person due to COVID-19 risks.

The pandemic heightens these existing cycles and creates a domino effect. One issue leads to another, and the lack of technology perpetuates each movement.

A Lack of Resources

Tech, health, and legal resources are the most important during this pandemic. Technology provides access to education, jobs, and family. Health care is essential for treating the virus if you contract it. Laws and regulations at local and nationwide levels are also necessary to ensure students and staff stay safe.

However, schools and students may be missing one or more of these resources. While learning from home, a student may not have cybersecurity systems in place to protect their information. Educational aid is another obstacle — bringing learning to the student is difficult when the virus is still affecting millions. Tutors and in-person guidance are necessary for some. Students with disabilities may have a harder time learning from home without proper accommodations.

Faculty and staff are under immense pressure as well. In the United States, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) helps eligible employees balance their work and personal life. Other countries may not have these resources, though, and instead, teachers may be out of a job if they don’t have the right technology.

In China, the total time of lost learning results in billions of added yuan in the country’s deficit. The same phenomenon is happening across other countries, too. Resources are going to waste, costing teachers, students, and nations dearly.

Continue Reading