A recurrent theme in conversations about education is that millennials are demanding more technology inside the classroom, and that teachers are resistant to educational innovations. I dare to disagree.
In the six years that we have been running Geekie—a company that brings together cutting-edge technology with innovative pedagogical methodologies to boost learning—we have seen with over 10 million students and 5 thousand schools an enthusiasm for technology that is shared by students and teachers alike.
So, how does technology impact the lives of teachers?
In a society with multiple simultaneous demands, characterized by technological development and broad access to information, teachers face new challenges in meeting students and parents’ requests. Among the most common challenges is time management. For example, in Brazil, teachers spend 12% of their time managing tasks, 20% keeping order in class, and 67% dedicating themselves to the teaching and learning process (OECD).
When we look closer at this data, we see that a significant part of their time is dedicated to operational tasks, such as correcting exercises and tests, filling lists and tables, developing and reviewing plans, and calculating grades—a long list of tasks that, although important, might be reimagined with the support of technology.
Geekie One is an example of a technology that, when coupled with the right pedagogical intention, allows teachers more time for personal interactions with students, leading to a more meaningful learning experience. The individualized aspect delivered by technology is a great asset for teachers and students, as both receive constant feedback through technological platforms. Students have, individually, more time with their teachers, which results in more empowerment, enthusiasm and pride in their own results.
Teachers, in their turn, see feedback on their work as something very productive. When we look at the challenge of student engagement and motivation, technology is also an ally. According to Fundação Getulio Vargas, 40% of young people that have abandoned school in Brazil say a lack of interest is their main motivation – not the need to work.
While facing the challenge of reducing drop-outs (according to PNAD , 50% of young Brazilians do not finish High School by the time they are 19 years old), we realize technology’s role in education is not limited to just making content more appealing—technology allows teachers to understand each student’s need in real time, in a personalized way, and thereby help students before they get blocked and unmotivated and then give up because they are not learning.
Technological advancements are exponential also for teachers. Digital technologies bring even more benefits when focused on the educators. Providing them with a laptop, helped to increase PISA grades by 2.7 points in Brazil.
This is possible because we are not talking about automation, but rather the innovative possibility of personalizing and channeling teachers and managers time into actual learning, using resources and methodologies capable of supporting an education focused on student needs and development of digital skills.
Using in-classroom technologies goes beyond training teachers in how to operate a tool. We have proven that technological resources can make the lesson a more dynamic and complete experience. Something much more fun and nurturing for students, teachers, parents and the whole educational community.
Entry by guest blogger Claudio Sassaki who holds a master’s degree in education from Stanford University and is a co-founder of Geekie, a leading company in innovative education in Brazil and the world.