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Maria Chaconas , Jul 17, 2019

In the first post of this two-part series, we covered two challenges to digital learning programs (like BYOD and 1:1) and their solutions. We talked about how teachers are relying on learning management systems (LMS) to keep themselves and their students on the same page during the school year, and how professional development (PD) sessions help make resources available outside of class.  

Compared to the traditional classroom model, digital learning has plenty of advantages for teachers and students. However, digital learning also has a unique set of challenges that need addressed. In part two of this blog series, we’ll be discussing two more challenges facing educators and students in digital learning programs. The challenges covered today in part-two include: an overuse of technology and limited access to power in classrooms. 

3. An Overuse of Technology  

Over the course of just a decade, attitudes towards EdTech in K-12 have shifted entirely. Even social media has settled to find its place in the classroom. Today’s educators are increasingly quick to integrate EdTech into the classroom.  

But despite the undeniable value of tech for teachers, more isn’t always best when it comes to delivering class concepts to students. Based on the State of Digital Learning report, the majority of K-12 classroom teachers agree that one of the greatest challenges they face in class is simply juggling all of the available digital tools for teaching and learning.  

With an abundance of effective tech at their fingertips, many teachers find that it can become a challenge to know when to use what. Even students have voiced a preference to break up screen time throughout the day with other things (group games, pencil and paper worksheets, and open discussions). It’s all about balance, but with how much is out there, it’s easy to see how an over-reliance on technology could occur.  

To help aid their teachers in overcoming this challenge, institutions are seeking help from dedicated instructional technologists. The understood purpose of any classroom software is to help students learn and grasp concepts, so goals are set around this. To simplify and cut through the noise, schools are opting to integrate only the best EdTech tools and improve their reporting for data-driven decision making.   

4. Limited Access to Power in Classrooms 

As an educator, you’ve probably had classes interrupted by student needing a charger because their Chromebook or laptop battery was at 5%. Without an accessible power outlet nearby, the lesson and learning comes to a stop to assist students with dead laptops and Chromebooks. Because of this, it’s no surprise that 64% of teachers are frustrated by issues related to power on a daily basis.  

It’s likely that you have charging carts and lockers to securely charge up laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets while they’re not in use or overnight. But what about during school hours when students are using their devices while in class? Your school can have the best digital learning program with highly interactive and engaging content, but successful implementation will always be an issue if your classrooms aren’t well-suited to support device usage during class.   

With charging being the 2nd largest barrier to successful implementation of digital learning programs, it’s important for schools to evaluate their power needs to make sure devices aren’t contributing to disengagement and lack of focus in the classroom.  

One common solution to the issue of access power in classrooms is to run extension cords and power strips from outlets to desks to charge student devices. While this is cost effective, it creates additional trip and safety hazards in the classroom. Another, less popular, option is to install new power sources. Installing power sources can be both costly and time consuming, especially since traditional construction methods can make classrooms unusable for extended periods of time.  

The best solution to providing adequate power in the classroom is to invest in laptop and Chromebook desk chargers. These multi-device charging stations are a portable and cordless power solution that can clamp onto the side or sit on top of desks and tables. What makes this charging station unique is that you don’t need an outlet or access to power to charge laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and smartphones. Teachers no longer have to assist students with dead laptops and Chromebooks during class and students don’t have to worry about keeping their devices charged and ready for in-class use.  

Unlike extension cords and power strips, the multi-device desk charger has a cord-free feature that eliminates trip hazards. And, its portable and simple design is much more cost effective than installing new power sources in every classroom.  

A battery-powered charging station in the classroom means that teachers can focus on delivering interactive and engaging lessons, not on keeping laptops and Chromebooks charged during class. This increases classroom engagement, improves learning, and contributes to the overall student success.  

In Conclusion 

Today’s tech tools in the digital classroom are just that – tools to help students learn. No matter how tech evolves, educators are the ones who teach new skills, concepts, and ideas to students in class. To successfully implement a digital learning program, educators need to be mindful of the amount of new EdTech tools they are deploying and focus on providing teachers with the resources they need to effectively manage their classrooms.    

Category: K-12
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