Modern Learning: Re-Discovering the Transformative Promise of Educational Technology
By Steve Hargadon (@stevehargadon) Survey and Report: modernlearning.com |
- When do you believe technology enhances learning, and when do you believe
it does not?
- How has technology impacted your own learning?
- Does your school, library, or organization have a specific learning philosophy that guides ed-tech purchases and implementation? If yes, what is that philosophy?
More than 450 responses were received (those that agreed for their answers to be
shared publicly can be seen at http://www.modernlearning.com).
For the purposes of this report, “educational technology” (often abbreviated as “ed tech”) is assumed to refer principally to the use of modern electronic computing and other high-tech, mostly Internet-enabled, devices and services in education.
Observation 1: There is general agreement that there are good and pedagogically-sound arguments or the implementation and active use of ed tech; and that technology is changing, and will change, education for the better.
Observation 2: There is general agreement that technology is not always beneficial to teaching and learning.
When it becomes a distraction.
● When there is little or no preparation for it.
● When just used for testing / score tracking.
● When used for consuming and not creating, or just for rote learning.
● When “following the education trends: everyone else is doing it.”
● When the tech is “an end rather than means” (also stated as, ”when I don’t have a plan or learning goal…”). We found this very significant, and it is the focus of Observation 6.
● When there is a lack of guidance in how to effectively use new ed tech tools (“when there is no PD”). This is the focus of Observation 4.
● Finally, when it “gets in the way of real time talk / sharing.” Forgetting that the tech “cannot mentor, motivate, show beauty, interact fully, give quality attention, [or] contextualize.” Also: ”outcomes related to acquiring the skills and attitudes cannot be enhanced by technology.” As mentioned in the introduction, this would be missing the “human factor.” One respondent
captured this as follows: “3 reasons tech innovation fails: Misunderstanding Human Motivation, Human Learning, or Human Systems.”
Observation 3: The benefits of ed tech to educator learning are described much more positively, and much less ambiguously, than are the benefits to student learning.
- reduced their isolation by helping them to connect with their peers;
● allowed them to feel part of larger educational movements;
● afforded them opportunities to become contributors.
Observation 4: There is a lack of good professional development for educational technology.
Observation 5: Educational technology is prone to grandiose promises.
Observation 6: Some significant percentage of educational technology purchases do not appear to have a pedagogical basis.
Networked information technology has rendered the words “teacher” and “student” more ambiguous. YouTube tutorials and social-media discussions, just to cite a couple of obvious examples, have made it abundantly clear that at any given moment anyone—regardless of age or background—can be a learner or a teacher, or even both at once.
more on educational technology in this IMS blog