Digital is the channel of choice for an increasing number of people globally – for play, interaction and information. As teachers, we need to take advantage of the fact that these individuals are highly engaged with their devices, and translate that into an engagement with learning. To do this, we need solid, well researched digital learning tools. It’s important to bring the right ‘ingredients’ together in EdTech teams: well researched, well written content + pedagogical expertise + strong technology = powerful tools which engage learners and lead to measurably improved learning outcomes.
The ‘Say It’ app – which has sold in over 90 countries – gives students access to detailed analysis of a model pronunciation, and objective, real-time feedback on their own speech sounds. Given classroom constraints, it’s not always easy for teachers to give an assessment with this level of detail, especially on the spot. Using the app, students get to the learning outcome (improved pronunciation) quickly and effectively. Improved pronunciation enhances other skills too (see Dr Catherine Walter’s research into the importance of pronunciation in L2 reading competence, for example). So here we have a digital product supporting the teacher and the course material to improve learning outcomes in pronunciation, and in turn, across a range of skills.
As EdTech developers, we need to collaborate closely with pedagogical researchers to build a body of evidence about how technology positively impacts learning outcomes. With digital interactions being so measurable, there is ample scope to understand the strengths and weaknesses of EdTech. We can then feed the evidence into developments and refinements of our products, to improve learning outcomes.
The EdTech market has piqued investors’ interest, but it sometimes feels that there’s a lack of teacher-level understanding of students and classrooms. By engaging with teachers in forums such as this, we can continue to work out together how technology can best support teachers, and enhance the learning experience and outcomes for students.