While the article Fears of a School Superintendent Exodus on 74 Million was effective and important, I’ve been thinking about another angle: educational technology tools are a way to cope with K-12 staffing shortages.
Teachers have one of the most critical roles globally, especially STEM teachers who are empowering a new generation of scientists to tackle issues like climate change and the healthcare crisis. I want to help these educators.
My name is Stina Pagliero and I’m a Lead Product Manager managing our high school products at Labster. I work with engineers, scientists, product managers, sales, customer support, business stakeholders, and our QA team to make sure our products solve problems and deliver value for our HS customers, students, and teachers. We offer virtual science simulations to K-12 (and higher education) students. I’m also a Lead Product Management Instructor at General Assembly. As a former US HS science student who is working and teaching in tech now, I’m passionate about helping inspire people to realize their potential through learning.
It’s no secret that there’s an immense teacher shortage in the US right now that’s leaving the profession scrambling. This issue is putting tremendous pressure on existing teachers.
The nation’s largest union representing nearly 3 million educators, The National Education Association, released a 2022 survey that showed 90% of educators say feeling burned out is a serious problem. More than half of the educators plan to leave the field sooner than planned because of the pandemic. These teachers have overwhelming workloads and a lack of overall support.
Education technology tools are just what teachers need. Monica Burns, an expert on incorporating EdTech into the classroom, said in her book EdTech Essentials: The Top 10 Technology Strategies for All Learning Environments, “I am a big believer in the power of technology to save us time, automate repetitive tasks, and make our lives easier whenever possible.” Further, these tools enable students to perform better and learn socially.
In sum, here are the major reasons EdTech can help teachers:
Saves time by automating repetitive tasks: Learning management systems (LMS) are EdTech tools, some can even offer graphs and data on how students are doing. This automates repetitive processes, by saving time with tasks like automatic grading.
Makes teachers’ lives easier: Beyond automatic grading, technology in the classroom can also be used to communicate better, assess student progress, and be incorporated into lesson planning, making these processes easier.
Lowers costs: Adoption of EdTech tools can sometimes be expensive and so are physical labs. Labster offers a flexible price and an easy implementation process. It makes it easy to try with your class.
Enables students to perform better: Not only are teachers’ lives made easier, but students can also actually get better grades and retain information. A research study in Bionature Technology found that learning outcomes increase by 101% when virtual labs supplement traditional teaching.
Allows students to learn socially: There has been such a gap in social-emotional learning during COVID times. EdTech tools can maximize collaboration, engagement, and even increase motivation. As an EduPorium article on STEM education and SEL states, “Tech tools help students recognize patterns, work together, communicate thoughts, and creatively solve problems.”
Creates community: We see a lot in HS that teachers end up creating community organically. Through shared usage, EdTech tools can connect teachers to support one another and their students through community. Customer support can also help onboard teams so teachers don't have to stress about learning new tools. We offer a Community Campus to connect science teachers to one another, to learn and grow together.
There are so many points to be made about EdTech supporting K-12 teachers, therefore easing the crisis of teachers leaving the profession. Research is growing to support this theory. A study was done on Scaling Access & Impact: Realizing Power of EdTech and found:
“By enabling ubiquitous access and personalization, equitable EdTech can close the gap for students while also empowering teachers to be more effective, especially when there is lack of access to high-quality schools, high-quality teacher training, rigorous curriculum, or appropriate interventions. Additionally, recent evidence demonstrates that these models can be both highly impactful and cost-effective.”
Virtual Labs are interactive science simulations that accelerate STEM learning through gamification. Educators assign labs to students through their internet browsers, where students can train lab skills, visualize abstract theory, and learn science through real-world scenarios.Try for Free
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