Often dismissed by older generations, millennials have been given a bad rap. They are seen as lazy, entitled and obsessed with not much more than themselves and their phones. As with most stereotypes this assumption is far from the truth, and particularly in the world of education, schools desperately need millennials to assist them in leading the digital switch.
The education system needs innovation. Just as the financial services industry has undergone disruptive change in the past five years, education should follow suit. If the finance world, heavily dominated by regulation, can progress with the use of technology then why can’t education? As millennials, have feverishly downloaded banking apps and adapted easily to fintech, we can use them in education to push forward the innovative edtech that is forming and growing across the world.
Millennials have grown up in a hyper-connected world, and this flexibility and native adoption of technology comes with them to the classroom. Millennial teachers are used to engaging with a wide variety of platforms and technologies in their personal lives, so it’s not far-fetched to expect them to bring them into their workplace too. Whilst most teachers are adept at handling the desktop computer in the corner and perhaps the smart whiteboard — millennials will introduce the best new hardware, apps, platforms and more to improve the learning journey of students.
The key to effective edtech use is ensuring that millennials are instrumental in implementation. Remember, schools will have teachers employed there aged 24 and 60, and at the older end of this scale technology may seem like a scary and foreign concept to even consider let alone implement. Millennials can be key in transforming these technophobes and educating them in even the basics such as interactive whiteboards or iPads.
Having early adopters of these technologies is one thing, but retaining and utilising millennial NQTs to the best of their potential is another. Teachers are notoriously overworked, with recent reports showing fewer than half (47 per cent) of teachers said they were satisfied with the amount of free time they had. Per the National Foundation for Educational Research, teachers and middle leaders are working an average 54-hour week, a third of their time spent planning. Here’s where edtech comes in to play. Platforms such as Teacherly are helping to lessen teacher’s workloads by allowing them to use an innovative and intuitive lesson-plan tool, with easy drag and drop features and a library of hundreds of pre-made plans from teachers across the UK. Software like Teacherly could potentially be instrumental in lessening burdens for teachers and helping them reclaim their free time. As well as lesson planning software, Teacherly are building a community of teachers to collaborate and share best practice techniques across the network — an invaluable tool for teachers across all generations.
If technophobic leaders dominate and lead in education then progress will never be made, it’s up to educators, innovators and millennials together to work on building the school of the future. With the edtech ecosystem making major leaps, schools need to embrace their younger teachers and recognise their inherent skills, trusting them and enabling them to help lead this digital transformation of both their classrooms and peers alike.
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