Technology for technology’s sake doesn’t work
Without thought and structure, technology in schools, colleges and universities are just cost centres. With technology making it easier than ever before to query Google or effortlessly find an answer to any question, educators are determining the types of knowledge students need in order to thrive in a technology-literate workforce.
Whilst educational models of the past focused on providing students with the requisite skills to turn them into skilled workers, the teachers of today are more concerned with teaching students how to learn on their own. Instead of using class time to spoon-feed information, technology is helping teachers use their time with students to advance problem-solving, communication and collaboration skills.
The task of helping to prepare students for a world that we know so little about is considerable. Technology can harness learning beyond the classroom. Teachers can spend less time going through content verbatim but leverage the world of digital content and learning from others, learning by connecting students to work on projects outside the classroom. They can connect students, who can work on problem solving and new projects. They can have flip classrooms where students are in the driving seat.
The size of the teaching and learning world has got bigger. Teachers can influence a school student in the classroom but really guide their learning journey outside it, so we need forward-thinking teachers now more than ever before.
School leaders have to deal with a significant inspection regime, moving goalposts, challenges with recruitment, as well as significant budgetary pressures. Technology on its own may not be the answer to these challenges, but it can help to reduce the burden.
Today’s educational leaders are aware of how technology can help them meet their challenges. Even if, in some cases, ICT is not yet being deployed as efficiently as it could be.
Teachers could be forgiven for doubting that technology is the answer to their every educational need. Over the past couple of decades large sums have been spent on classroom technology and even larger claims have been made on its behalf.
To cope with increasing class sizes, rising workloads, staffing shortages and depleted budgets, schools, colleges and universities will have to employ solutions that are cost-effective, creative and scalable. And those solutions will inevitably involve technology.
Educational technology will be ever-more central in the schools, colleges and universities of tomorrow. If we’re serious about EdTech being a transformative force for education, we need to be clear about where we want to get to, what is the purpose of education in an ever-changing world, and what role does technology have to play?
Any effective education technology strategy must first and foremost ask how technogy contributes to the overall purpose of education and how that should be communicated and owned.
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