Edtech hardware: helping educators stay connected

How can edtech hardware help education establishments get ready for a move to blended learning at the start of the new academic year? Keri Beckingham finds out

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional education has changed, as teachers and students rely on technology more than ever to maintain their learning levels. Although technology has been used to encourage engagement and class participation, it’s now allowing both teachers and students to work together in a safe classroom environment, also enabling interactivity and collaboration.

In these uncertain times, edtech hardware is helping to transform the learning environment, allowing educators to meet a whole new series of challenges.

If you have ever wondered what edtech hardware is available for use in the classroom and the ways they can benefit schools, colleges and universities, the guide below will help explain this type of edtech in more depth. Read on to find out the details that you’re looking for.

What brands manufacture edtech hardware?

There are several key brands within the edtech hardware marketplace; some of the most notable include Promethean, ELMO, Casio, SMART and Carillion.

What difference can edtech hardware make?

Edtech hardware can have several benefits for both teachers and students alike. Some common benefits of edtech hardware include:

  • Deliver a learning experience that Gen Z can fully engage with: Gen Z expects to use technology as part of their learning experience. Edtech helps to deliver a dynamic, flexible and more immersive environment, and allows educators to engage students with the technology they are familiar with.
  • Enable more collaboration: the collaborative nature of edtech hardware allows schools to reach more students and engage with them in a more effective way, for example through the use of virtual breakout groups. Through the use of video, online learning is just as effective as face-to-face time in the classroom, and feedback sessions can be delivered in this way too.
  • Greater flexibility: not only will teaching staff have more time to support students, but they can also reach learners regardless of their location or device. Study courses can also be tailored to meet the needs of different individuals, and students can use online tools to access content in completely new ways.
  • Bringing subjects to life: through the use of apps, interactive screens allow teachers to create dynamic and engaging lessons that bring their subjects to life. For example, teachers can record their screen and talk students through the key learning points via a video file, as well as create time challenges, polls and quizzes that encourage participation from students and further enhance their learning.

What types of edtech hardware are available?

When it comes to choosing edtech hardware, there are several different options available:

  • All-in-one solutions: Carillion’s an all-in-one Surface Hub 2 product can be used as a digital whiteboard, meetings platform, presentation device and collaborative computing solution. Powered by Windows 10, it features a 50.5” super slim, interactive 4K touchscreen, mobile stand, a 4K moveable camera and an interactive pen.
  • Interactive whiteboards: designed by Promethean to enhance the educational space, the ActivPanel front of class display device supports learning in the moment, also encouraging peer-to-peer collaboration. Completely interactive, it features pre-loaded apps, an Instant Whiteboarding App, and allows group discussion to take place in a more effective way. Additionally, the SMART board series provides a fully interactive solution for every educational need, helping to bridge the gap between physical and digital learning through sensors that can optimise the classroom environment and industry-leading touch and ink technology.
  • Calculator emulator: looking for a way to make maths easier for students to understand? With a Casio calculator emulator, you can enrich your maths lessons by sharing your screen directly with students, either in the classroom or on a remote basis. The calculator emulator not only looks and operates like the calculator you’re used to, but running on your computer it can help to enhance students’ learning in a number of ways.
  • Visualisers: using software for Windows/MacOS, the ELMO Interactive Toolbox (EIT) allows educators to make their teaching more interactive and engaging by zooming, rotating, highlighting, masking and freezing images, as well as annotating them. The Image Mate + Cloud (IM+C) also provides a web-based solution that’s fully accessible via your chrome browser.

What else do educators needs to consider when it comes to edtech hardware?

To get maximum value from your edtech hardware, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering an investment.

It’s important to ensure that the chosen solution is fit for purpose in terms of hardware and network infrastructure, as well as the user’s perspective. In addition, it’s important to ensure that the hardware is suitable for use in the institution’s classrooms, and that it easily allows teachers to enhance the learning space for students. Finally, you should make sure that wrap-around support is available from the manufacturer before, during and after purchase, which is something that a reputable and trusted provider will be able to assist with on a long-term basis.

What’s clear is that edtech hardcare can benefit today’s learning environments in a number of ways. From delivering collaboration, without the need for physical engagement, to enabling blended learning, it’s set to help educators navigate an uncertain few months ahead and adapt to a new way of teaching.

To find out more about edtech hardware, read our buyer’s guides:

You might also like: Blended learning – not just for school closures?


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