When it comes to excelling a student’s performance, the first thing that comes in the mind of anyone is shaping different factors in the classroom so that it provides greater impact in student’s performance.
But what about the time children spend outside of school? Don’t you think it too needs to be as productive as the time they spent in the classroom for their good academic performance?
Various studies reflect that out-of-school time programs help to a greater deal to develop the basic academic skills of at-risk students. Children falling in the age bracket of 5-14 years, are the ones, who spent at least 80% of their time out-of-school. If this hour of those children can be used as an opportunity to help them grow and acquire important social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills, it can be a stepping stone for them. Further, it is the best time to address their academic challenges and mental blocks while they are at school. And this is only possible when students get enrolled in some Out-of-School time program (OST) which supports students to work on their skill gaps.
In the age of technology and when much expectation is ushered on the role of EdTech to help OST program stakeholders enhance their programming value for students? Yes, indeed this space is indeed a promising area for the EdTech communities to focus upon. Formal education is the first lot to experience the immense beneficiary of education technology and now it is the vocational education too who are experiencing the same. Bringing educational technology into OST can also be promising because it would help program stakeholders to build a variety of skills, offer program staffs with a variety of options to use tools that keep students engaged and reinforce learning from the school day.
By incorporating technology into out of school time programs, program directors can benefit in multiple ways. Hence let’s check out some factors in brief which make use of technology in out of school time programs beneficial.
- Firstly, it allows in offering information to program participants in diverse locations and also at different time zone.
- Secondly, use of technology will vitalize the program and work as a great supplement for in-class instructions. One such example of this is use of computer software can enable students to communicate, visualize and practice in-class concepts.
- Thirdly, use of internet and network based software allow students to make use of a wealth of easily accessible information by linking related information to online documents.
- Fourthly, technology assists in increasing students’ engagement in learning and eventually enhance their ability to learn by making learning process not tedious but one that is enjoyable.
- Fifthly, every student has their own pace to learn and by incorporating technology into OST programs, it allows program participants the flexibility to learn at their individual grasping pace.
- Sixthly, technology also helps in promoting program participants with academic success by increasing student achievement.
- Seventhly, technology incorporation will help program directors to offer enriching opportunities to the program participants which on the part of the stakeholders become difficult to offer due to limited program staff and resources.
Thus we see technology incorporation in OST programs is indeed beneficial in many respect. Now, in this piece we would be focusing on some lessons that EdTech communities should consider when they plunge on to strengthen the out-of-school programs.
- To benefit OST program directors, EdTech communities have to offer various tools that qualify the needs to design curriculum with efficacy, improve students’ 21’st century academic skills and help OST providers to offer more rigorous content even when they are short of time for planning.
- Mostly students seek for out of school time programming because they are struggling in specific subjects. And one of the ways by which the academic sessions can become gripping for students is when engagement and fun can be gauged into the academic sessions in the program. Education technology companies must therefore offer educational technology which includes fun and academia both. Examples of such kind of EdTech solutions are game based learning tools. Note, these tools must offer materials adjusted to OST settings having a focus on project based learning and assist in 21’st century skill building.
- Education based technology companies should note to include training and coaching element in the products they offer institutions as solution. Including both coaching and training feature into the product make a big difference when implementing new EdTech. Now talking of training, it doesn’t have to be in person and high-touch. It can be in the form of technology as in video chat or a chatbot. Providing such tech options will help in to deepen the overall learning experience of students.
- Remediation of specific skills and creating an environment to reinforce learning are two most important purpose of OST programs and to fulfill them incorporation of technology is the answer for obvious reasons. Technology helps to model program in a way that is suitable to meet student’s unique needs by leveraging a tool which individualizes instruction, identify each student’s needs and provide support to the students throughout the learning path.
To conclude, it’s important to keep the momentum going and here the momentum can be built by incorporating EdTech in OST programs to provide positive impact on student’s social and academic performance by enhancing their skills.