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Four Es of edtech

Posted on: September 19, 2019

There are four Es that teachers and educators need to distinguish in edtech.

Enhancing: When you enhance a process or product with technology, you add some value to something that can already be done. Type-written documents are enhancements over hand-written ones.

Enabling: When you enable something, that task was previously not possible or very difficult to do without the technology. Consulting directly with an expert over a video conference or co-building in Minecraft with partners who are physically halfway around the world is enabling.

Helping a hearing-impaired learner hear with cochlear implants or having speech converted in real-time to text is enabling. So is providing noise-cancelling headphones to a learner who suffers from sensory overload or one who simply likes quiet.

Engaging: This is a teacher constantly trying to keep and maintain the attention of students. YouTube videos, quick polls, video games, and Internet memes are ways to instructionally engage a group.

Empowering: This is an educator nurturing more independent learners who problem-seek and problem-solve. Empowering edtech is virtually indistinguishable from everyday technology, e.g., Google, voice assistants, Wikipedia, social media, etc.

The four Es are not mutually exclusive. A strategy that starts with enhancing/engaging might have enabling/empowering as an end goal.

Sadly, the four Es are not given equal air time. Most administrative and policy documents seem to stop at “enhancing lessons with technology” or “creating engaging lessons with technology”. Very few progressives explore the more difficult but also more meaningful enabling and empowering with technology.

1 Response to "Four Es of edtech"

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