Edtech is having a renaissance, driven by necessity. Ten years ago it was not commonplace to see a Technology Director on staff at an elementary school, let alone a Technology Integration Specialist. Times are changing. The global pandemic has created an immediate need for better edtech solutions in our schools due to increased awareness around ensuring the health and wellness of students and staff.
Technology teams in schools are working with edtech companies to bring cutting-edge technology into the classroom, providing real-time solutions to long-term problems. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2013–2015, 3.9 percent of boys and 4.3 percent of girls missed more than 10 school days in 12 months because of illness or injury. Traditional tutoring only brings these students 4-5 hours of home instruction, whereas telepresence can provide these same children with 30-40 hours of classroom instruction. Advancements in edtech are helping kids stay connected at school, even during these uncertain times.
Modernizing the Classroom
At the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of children hadn’t participated in a virtual classroom experience. Signing into a virtual classroom was unheard of. Many didn’t have proper internet access or even a tablet or other device with which to get online. Now, many children are experts at virtual technology. Schools are providing devices to access classroom material from home, and many have immediate remote plans in place that can take them from in-person to virtual almost immediately.
Times have changed, and school districts are changing with them. The pandemic quickly reminded us all that face-to-face interactions are an important piece of connecting. Losing that aspect of interactions took its toll on many during the pandemic, but this is a much longer problem than just the last two years. Immunocompromised children have been dealing with the less positive side of virtual learning well before the pandemic came along.
Not only do children face academic underachievement if they miss school, but friendships are also disrupted and many suffer from increased anxiety or even become vulnerable to other stressors or secondary illnesses. Telepresence robots are offering real-time solutions to these types of problems and having a profoundly positive impact on these children, thanks to tech companies who are working with schools to make distance learning successful.