The changing nature of higher ed coupled with the widespread availability of content through myriad providers can lead to greater emphasis on pedagogy and student-centered learning, according to Dr. Beena Giridharan. But learning new ways of teaching and preparing new materials in response can be overwhelming, given a faculty member’s overall responsibilities (Loch & Reushle, 2008; Price & Oliver, 2007). Ed tech analytics allows educators to evaluate the ‘breadcrumbs’ left by student access and interaction with online course materials, improving efficiency and access to usable data. Use these analytics as an assessment tool not just to measure your students’ success but to improve your own critical thinking and professional skills.

Measure Student Engagement in Real-Time

Just a few years ago, most instructors had to take it mostly on faith that students did the assigned readings as outlined in the syllabus and fully understood the content; by the time final projects and exams came in, it was too late to intervene. But today, ed tech makes it possible for schools to better serve instructors and students by issuing student engagement analytics in real-time.

See where your students are connecting with the material and where those connections are weak. Ed tech analytics can reveal any need for differentiation. Drill down into ed tech analytic reports to identify the specifics of student needs, giving you the ability to provide differentiated learning where and when appropriate. Use this information to assess your selection and application of course material toward learning goals. Improve your teaching skills by modifying course content and format for acquisition of knowledge aligned with the digital learning styles of today’s students, like shorter attention spans and visual learning (Menon, 2016).

Harness Students’ Digital Skills for Learning

Shift your reliance from paper to digital content to assess students’ learning. The ubiquity of devices and online resources like ed tech gives students an expanded ability to create and produce original content that reflect what they’re learning in class. Drive competency through project-based learning and collaboration using devices and digital resources. To avoid doing so is like limiting your students to 15 miles per hour because you have a 10-speed bike when they can go 75 miles per hour on a motorbike; why hold them back?

Evaluate and Improve Your Own Digital Fluency

As ed tech becomes a greater part of your instruction, you may discover a need to increase your own familiarity and competence in technology to better meet students at their level of interest, access, and engagement. It’s easier to use ed tech as a teaching tool when you’re adept at using it. You may also discover an added benefit by connecting with peers who have similar interests or research specialties, improved efficiency in your own course preparation and delivery, or enhanced connections with your students which enriches classroom experiences for everyone.

Use ed tech and analytics as a tool to build your knowledge and skills specific to teaching while improving your engagement with your students. Ed tech offers unique insights on your students’ learning style and your teaching style. Reflect on these benchmarks and then take action based on data-driven hypotheses, with the benefit of ongoing ed tech analytics to compare term over term and year over year metrics for self-assessment.

By Andrew Lang