Using Ed Tech The Right Way

Education by design is quite conservative and resistant to change and no more so than when it comes to educational technology.

Many teachers resent technology and being asked to use it as a teaching aid.  Many say, “We don’t need this wasteful thing nor technology in our classrooms! The traditional approach works just fine, thank you!”

Here are two responses by teachers to a recent comment about educational technology.

A teacher comment …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill responded ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate replied ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s sad.

For one, they didn’t really think things through. If they had, they’d have seen there is a lot of common sense in the many quotes/responses of the teachers in those schools. I’ve outlined them below.   Too often our reactions to change are visceral and about fear and not fact.

Secondly, nothing is ever bad in and of itself.  It’s always about the “how” and not the “what” – technology itself isn’t evil, but it can be a dud if not implemented well or simply.

Technology is an essential component of education. You can’t throw out this pencil and go back to scratching with limestone. It has its place and effect/need. However, you don’t need to spend billions on fancy doohickeys, widgets and doodads from Acme Inc. Here is what I think all teachers and classrooms  need.

1. Broadband internet access and a project/screen. All schools, all classrooms.

— There are plenty of excellent, safe resources online for students. In time, we’ll only have more excellent tools. But we have to keep it simple – what we use in the classroom should work.  Put it on, use it and pipe reality into our closed rooms.  Language needs that reality.

2. Teachers trained in the use of technology and the resources available. Also staff that can design strong curriculum that harnesses the power of educational technology.  The overspending on useless techno gadgetry is only rivaled by the under-spending on the training of teachers (and ongoing support for) in educational technology. There is a plethora of evidence that the bane of technology in education is how school administrators just throw technology into schools without any support or training.

3. Access to devices for all school children and new ways to integrate this within the curriculum. We NEED better curriculum developers in the school systems – ones with know how about technology.

4. The promotion of a new “paradigm” where learning can happen outside school hours and online AND be accredited. We have to find a way to value what students do on their own time/dime. The school system can’t continue to have 4 walls.

Here are some quotes from everyday working teachers which support my contentions:

“ICT is essential in schools, but schools are in danger of buying white elephant technology,” he adds. “There are so many flash salesmen and it is important that we’re not swept into the mentality of ‘new is always the best’.”too much business in the educational pudding.

“Every school needs to think about how it uses technology.”
Technology isn’t bad, we just need to do it better.

“Teachers don’t want fancy new gizmos; they want something that does what they want it to do,” =
Keep it simple (and cheap) – a screen / computer and the internet.

“If they have a bad experience with a piece of software they tend not to go back to it,”
Teachers need support and ongoing training in technology

He’d make different decisions about the wireless network he had installed in 2012 as it proved too slow for pupils to be able to use portable kit around the school.-  Reliable broadband for all schools – the governments MUST do this

Mr Taylor says they are now looking to move towards hand-held devices.
It’s about the students having access – doesn’t matter the device but get them access to one! (but I’d invest in mobile devices – they are the future of educational technology and what students use every day.)

Yes, at the end of the day technology is a tool but a VERY special tool and I reject those who say that it doesn’t count. For better or worse, like the book, it is transforming how we act, interact with the world. We’d better use it as educators – for the betterment of the world and to make sure our job still counts.

What do you think about the use of educational technology in our language classroom?

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