Harnessing the power of technology

Deepika Venkatesh

Progressive education is the cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling life. 

Access to progressive education should not be limited by a person’s background or financial status. Education is a basic human right and should be accessible to all, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. We’ve heard this zillions of times, right? Yet, nowhere in the world has this become a reality. Governments have a responsibility to provide quality education to all citizens, including those in rural or remote areas and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the key aspects of progressive education is the development of critical thinking skills. Students should be encouraged to think critically about the world around them, to question assumptions, and to seek out evidence-based answers. This allows them to develop a deep understanding of complex issues,      analyze and decipher real information, and make informed decisions. Another important aspect of progressive education is the development of creativity and innovation. Creativity and innovation are essential for success in today’s rapidly changing professional environment. 

 So what are some of the tools that can help educational institutions achieve progressive education? Let’s be more specific, what can educators like you and me do practically in our classrooms?

While the examples I give below are all related to business studies as that is the subject I teach, teachers of other subjects can also use these tools to enhance the teaching-learning experience in their subjects.

  1. Technology    

Online simulations and games: These simulations can be accessed online and can provide a fun and engaging way for students to learn. For example, the Lemonade Stand game (many variations of this game are available online on different websites), which teaches students about pricing, supply and demand, and managing resources.

Digital portfolios: Train and get students to create digital portfolios to showcase their work and demonstrate their understanding of different concepts. These portfolios can be shared with teachers and other students, providing a collaborative learning experience. For example:  I used Edmodo which is a learning management system and asked my students to share their sustainable business model work.

Online assessments: Online assessments can be used to test students’ understanding of different business concepts, as well as to provide instant feedback on their performance. These assessments can be accessed online and can be used to track students’ progress over time. For example: Edpuzzle allows teachers to create interactive video assessments that test students’ comprehension of business concepts covered in video lessons.

2. Gamification    

Classroom management: One of my favourites is ClassDojo, a classroom management app that allows teachers to reward students for positive behaviours like active participation, good team player, and completing assignments on time.

Subject specific: GeoGuessr is a game that I used to challenge students to identify locations around the world, teaching business studies.

Minecraft: Education Edition is another game-based learning platform that I encouraged students to use to explore business concepts.

3. Project based learning    

Project-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that emphasizes active, student-centered learning through the completion of projects that involve solving real-world problems or answering complex questions. Some of the interesting tools and their uses in everyday classes include,

Canva: Showcase research findings for a project or present project outcomes through innovative graphics, infographics and many more visual aids. For example: Students were encouraged to create an infographic using Canva to showcase their understanding of key economic indicators and their impact on the economy.

Trello: I encouraged Trello as a project management tool for a few of the projects. It can be used in a great way to break down a large project into smaller, manageable tasks and track progress. For example: Students were asked to work in small groups to complete a simulated macroeconomics project in my session and use Trello to manage their tasks and progress.

Padlet: A digital bulletin board that allows students to post ideas, questions, and multimedia content related to a project. It can be used for brainstorming, peer feedback, and collaborative research. For example: Students were asked to research and analyze marketing strategies used by real-world businesses and create a collaborative Padlet board to present their findings.

4. Personalized l earning    

Personalized learning tools are designed to help teachers meet the unique needs of each student by adapting the content, pace, etc. For example, students can use Lexia, a personalized learning tool to improve their business writing skills by completing individualized assessments.      Reading Plus is another amazing tool for reading. Students can use Reading Plus to improve their comprehension of business articles by completing individualized activities to improve their reading skills.

In conclusion, progressive educators understand that students are more than just their academic achievements, and that social and emotional well-being are critical to their overall success. By creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment, progressive education helps students develop strong social skills, a positive sense of self, and a healthy self-esteem. The power of education lies in its innovative approach to teaching and learning. As the world continues to evolve, progressive education will play a key role in preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

 Happy teaching and learning!

The author is working as Program Manager. Education, Sustainability and   Climate Action, 1M1B Foundation.  She is also an innovation and entrepreneurship mentor at The Purpose Academy in partnership with UC Berkeley. She switched careers from being a Senior Risk and Regulatory Affairs Analyst at Deloitte to the field of education with an aim of magnifying sustainable education. Being a digitally certified educator by organizations like National Geographic, Apple and Google, Erasmus University Rotterdam and many more she believes in encompassing progressive teaching and learning techniques in classrooms for a quality education. She can be reached at deepika.padala6@gmail.com.

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