What are the types
of educational
technology?

Author: Adam Kimmel

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated school administrators to explore all types of educational technology. The objective of expanding technology was for educators to maintain teaching effectiveness while facing all-virtual and then hybrid classroom technology environments.

Reviewing the educational environments and types of educational technology will help underscore why educators should understand where to use these tools and how to use them effectively.

Types of current educational environments

There are three primary learning environments in the modern classroom:

  • In-person: Instruction occurs in the traditional classroom environment, with the teacher in front of the students.
  • Remote: Instruction occurs remotely with the help of videoconferencing platforms, where students and teachers can have discussions about course material, perform virtual group work and learn from online materials or archived video lectures.
  • Hybrid: Instruction occurs both remotely and in person and predominantly synchronously (see below); hybrid classrooms require specific technology that allows teachers to work with both online and in-person populations of students simultaneously.

Additionally, within both remote and hybrid learning environments there are two types of classes:

  • Synchronous: Virtual classes occur over videoconferencing platforms or group work is hosted live at the same time for all learners.
  • Asynchronous: An educator shares materials for students to use as they work through exercises on their own time and pace over a defined time frame.

Each of these learning environments demands reliable and seamless technologies, though this is most especially true for hybrid environments, where hybrid classroom technology, such as classroom cameras working in tandem with videoconferencing platforms specifically designed for such integration, is critical in enabling student success. Selecting the right technology for a learning model can improve learning efficiencies while reducing the cost of instruction.

Types of educational technology in learning environments

In-person instruction often uses visual projection and interactive smartboard technology in combination with live teaching to keep students engaged while presenting information in an impactful, concise way. When students transitioned to remote learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational technology needed to evolve alongside this largely—though not entirely—new environment.

Synchronous instruction leverages video conferencing platforms like BlueJeans to meet together virtually. The ability to view the teacher and see the content is critical, as is adding functionality of asking questions or communicating with classmates or teachers through chat. The types of educational technology used for virtual learning sessions—from a high-speed, reliable internet connection to hardware technologies, including webcams, microphones, and computers—must be seamless so as to support the learning process.

Asynchronous learning tools became just as vital as learners moved to remote and hybrid classroom technology. Schools had previously implemented web-based tutorials and lesson materials, but the shift to virtual learning at the start of the pandemic made having these materials essential. Examples of these tools include cloud-based storage, online homework submissions, counter-plagiarism software, video recording programs (for band instruction or other kinds of tutorials, for instance), online student learning portals and workspaces, student-teacher messaging applications and testing platform technology.

Like some of the synchronous tools, the objectives of these types of education solutions are to provide students with a smooth experience for uploading and downloading shareable content with their instructors.

High-speed internet is the centerpiece connecting most of these types of educational technology. Students must get an authentic experience with their teacher and transmit and receive classroom documents efficiently to continue their academic progress. Utilizing high internet speeds and low latency benefits both linear and collaborative learning models, removing the time drain and disruptions of technical issues from hybrid classroom technology.

Discover how Verizon can help schools prepare for remote learning.