Earlier this week I received my copy of The Economist, The future of learning: How technology is transforming education. The first article under the leader's section titled, “Together, technology and teachers can revamp schools” captivated my attention from the first to the last word. As an educational technology (ed tech) advocate, user, and student of the profession I will highlight parts of the article that I agree and disagree.
The article started by stating how the ed tech has a cycle of hype and flop due to teachers and their unions along with the unproven methods of ed tech. I am assuming the writer has not talked to all teachers across the country because surely not every teacher or union is against ed tech. The hype and flop happen with any industry except in the education industry “factory methods” of teaching is still prevalent, and innovation takes a while.
The article also claims that for ed tech to function correctly in schools three things must be right: personalized learning must follow how students learn, narrows the inequalities of education, and ed tech potential relies on teachers embracing it.
I will agree on the personalized learning must follow how students learn. When a new ed tech tool comes out everyone is fascinated by the tool and when you add the “personalized learning” tag to it even more so. The tool has to do what it says it will do, and there has been actual evidence that it is increasing student’s knowledge, not just scores.
In regards to the inequalities that is up to the states to determine when every school district gets its far share. As long as school districts rely on property tax for funding, I don’t see how inequality in education will disappear. There is only so much philanthropy money to go around.
Teachers are embracing technology, but with time the newer breed of students will take over the arcane methods of “factory teaching.” All over the country, there are weekly education twitter chats such as #oklaed for educators in Oklahoma and #edchatsa for teachers in South Africa among many others that share ideas and better teaching practices. So going back to the point of teachers being the reason for the hype and flop, check out one the local ed chats to see not every teacher is to blame.
I wholeheartedly agree with the article's statement, “given what ed tech promises today, closed-mindedness has no place in the classroom.” For ed tech to work there has to be an open mind, find what works for the class, and have results not just outcomes.
Personal Finance & Entrepreneurship educator and blogger. Follow Mr. J on social media @MrJRealTalk