Global trends indicate that teacher motivation has been falling in recent years, leading to teacher shortages (Unesco).
For example in Finland and the UK the teachers are reporting issues with wellbeing, high stress levels and not being able to handle the workload they’re expected to carry.
The negative trend has started long before the global pandemic and many indicators tell that the situation is worsening due to distance learning (TTL, Education Support UK).
How EdTech Can Improve Teacher Wellbeing?
Nowadays many schools are utilizing EdTech to reduce teachers workload in assessment and admin work (eLearning Industry).
While decreased workload surely helps, another significant stressor for K12 teachers is bullying, fights, and managing student behavior. (OECD) Problems with student behavior don’t only take a lot of teacher’s time but are also emotionally draining.
When teachers need to deal with violence in schools a commonly used method is to increase controlling behavior. However, research findings suggest that another way to cope with behavior issues is to aim at increasing student learning motivation. (A. Assor, Science Direct)
The main way how EdTech can help in this is by activating students in a meaningful, fun, and engaging way. At its best, Edtech can promote students’ intrinsic motivation and improve engagement in accomplishing the activities. Higher quality classroom interactions are known to correlate with higher job satisfaction among teachers (Science Direct).
What Elements in EdTech Affect Student’s Motivation?
Self-determination theory (SDT) is used a lot in analyzing how technology-enabled learning can increase motivation. According to SDT, well designed edtech experience allows students to feel autonomy, competence, and relatedness - the three psychological needs known to build up motivation (Deci, E. & Ryan, R.). We can expect that if the learning experience includes these elements, students are more engaged with the activity.
After evaluating more than 300 EdTech solutions, we have identified elements that an effective interactive learning solution facilitates. When looking at elements of EdTech through an SDT lense, it is possible to identify clear benefits for student motivation and reducing teacher stress
Pedagogical Benefits of EdTech
- Using interactive material with instant continuous feedback facilitates a student's feeling of competence, keeping them active and engaged.
- Doing creative activities promote students' need for self-expression and autonomy, and increases happiness. With technology, it’s easier to do creative projects in a variety of subjects, not only arts and music.
- Using data tools decreases student stress as they’re better aware of their progression, and also the teacher can more easily recognize their progress. Promoting a sense of progression is also likely to feed the feeling of competence.
- Social activities and sharing improve students’ relationships with each other, improve empathy and social-emotional skills which reduces bullying
- Adaptive learning experience feeds the feeling of autonomy when a student gets to choose materials and tasks based on their personal interests and strengths.
We Can’t Afford to Lose Good Teachers
“Teacher quality” is the single most important school variable influencing student achievement” (OECD). It’s crucial to ensure that competent people want to work as teachers and their teaching is of high quality.
EdTech companies have a great opportunity now to step out to solve problems of learning motivation and improve schools as learning and working environments. Based on our perspective on the educational technology market, EdTech innovators have the needed tools and expertise to do that!