Basically, my response to ed tech is “It depends.” And one key consideration on which it depends is the reason given for supporting it.
ads in education periodicals, booths at conferences, and advocacy organizations are selling not only specific kinds of software but the whole idea that ed tech is de rigueur for any school that doesn’t want to risk being tagged as “twentieth century.”
Other people, particularly politicians, defend technology on the grounds that it will keep our students “competitive in the global economy.” This catch-all justification has been invoked to support other dubious policies, including highly prescriptive, one-size-fits-all national curriculum standards. It’s based on two premises: that decisions about children’s learning should be driven by economic considerations, and that people in other countries should be seen primarily as rivals to be defeated.
But the rationale that I find most disturbing—despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that it’s rarely made explicit—is the idea that technology will increase our efficiency…at teaching the same way that children have been taught for a very long time.
a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?” If we favor an approach by which students actively construct meaning, an interactive process that involves a deep understanding of ideas and emerges from the interests and questions of the learners themselves, well, then we’d be open to the kinds of technology that truly support this kind of inquiry. Show me something that helps kids create, design, produce, construct—and I’m on board. Show me something that helps them make things collaboratively (rather than just on their own), and I’m even more interested—although it’s important to keep in mind that meaningful learning never requires technology, so even here we should object whenever we’re told that software (or a device with a screen) is essential.
more worrisome are the variants of ed tech that deal with grades and tests, making them even more destructive than they already are: putting grades online (thereby increasing their salience and their damaging effects), using computers to administer tests and score essays, and setting up “embedded” assessment that’s marketed as “competency-based.”
we shouldn’t confuse personalized learning with personal learning. The first involves adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores, and it requires the purchase of software. The second involves working with each student to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests, and it requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.
a recent review found that studies of tech-based personalized instruction “show mixed results ranging from modest impacts to no impact” – despite the fact that it’s remarkably expensive. In fact, ed tech of various kinds has made headlines lately for reasons that can’t be welcome to its proponents. According to an article in Education Week, “a host of national and regional surveys suggest that teachers are far more likely to use tech to make their own jobs easier and to supplement traditional instructional strategies than to put students in control of their own learning.” Last fall, meanwhile, OECD reportednegative outcomes when students spent a lot of time using computers, while Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes
Ed tech is increasingly making its way even into classrooms for young children. And the federal government is pushing this stuff unreservedly: Check out the U.S. Office of Education Technology’s 2016 plan recommending greater use of “embedded” assessment, which “includes ongoing gathering and sharing of data,” plus, in a development that seems inevitable in retrospect, a tech-based program to foster a “growth mindset” in children. There’s much more in that plan, too—virtually all of it, as blogger Emily Talmage points out, uncannily aligned with the wish list of the Digital Learning Council, a group consisting largely of conservative advocacy groups and foundations, and corporations with a financial interest in promoting ed tech.
New York’s Lockport City School District, which is using public funds from a Smart Schools bond to help pay for a reported $3.8 million security system that uses facial recognition technology to identify individuals who don’t belong on campus
the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C., published an animated video that illustrates the possible harm that surveillance technology can cause to children and the steps schools should take before making any decisions, such as identifying specific goals for the technology and establishing who will have access to the data and for how long.
Technology is a helpful tool, but it won’t provide that sense of stability. It’s a cold machine. School districts push technology over teachers. They don’t stop to think about what it will mean to children and their development.
the idea that instruction should be disrupted using technology is putting students and the country at risk. It destroys the public school curriculum that has managed to educate the masses for decades.
Early childhood teachers express concern that tech is invading preschool education. We know that free play is the heart of learning.
But programs, like Waterford Early Learning, advertise online instruction including assessment for K-2. Their Upstart program advertises, At-home, online kindergarten readiness program that gives 4- and 5-year-old children early reading, math, and science lessons.
But the rationale that I find most disturbing—despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that it’s rarely made explicit—is the idea that technology will increase our efficiency…at teaching the same way that children have been taught for a very long time. Perhaps it hasn’t escaped your notice that ed tech is passionately embraced by very traditional schools: Their institutional pulse quickens over whatever is cutting-edge: instruction that’s blended, flipped, digitally personalized.
We can’t answer the question “Is tech useful in schools?” until we’ve grappled with a deeper question: “What kinds of learning should be taking place in those schools?”
Tarting up a lecture with a SmartBoard, loading a textbook on an iPad, looking up facts online, rehearsing skills with an “adaptive learning system,” writing answers to the teacher’s (or workbook’s) questions and uploading them to Google Docs—these are examples of how technology may make the process a bit more efficient or less dreary but does nothing to challenge the outdated pedagogy. To the contrary: These are shiny things that distract us from rethinking our approach to learning and reassure us that we’re already being innovative.
But as I argued not long ago, we shouldn’t confuse personalized learning with personal learning. The first involves adjusting the difficulty level of prefabricated skills-based exercises based on students’ test scores, and it requires the purchase of software. The second involves working with each student to create projects of intellectual discovery that reflect his or her unique needs and interests, and it requires the presence of a caring teacher who knows each child well.a recent review found that studies of tech-based personalized instruction “show mixed results ranging from modest impacts to no impact” – despite the fact that it’s remarkably expensive.
an article in Education Week, “a host of national and regional surveys suggest that teachers are far more likely to use tech to make their own jobs easier and to supplement traditional instructional strategies than to put students in control of their own learning.”
OECD reportednegative outcomes when students spent a lot of time using computers, while Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) concluded that online charter schools were basically a disaster.
Larry Cuban, Sherry Turkle, Gary Stager, and Will Richardson.
Emily Talmage points out, uncannily aligned with the wish list of the Digital Learning Council, a group consisting largely of conservative advocacy groups and foundations, and corporations with a financial interest in promoting ed tech.
Student-centered learning theory and practice are based on the constructivist learning theory that emphasizes the learner’s critical role in constructing meaning from new information and prior experience.
The “context”in this definition encompasses m-learnng that is formalself-directed, and spontaneous learning, as well as learning that is context aware and context neutral.
therefore, m-learning can occur inside or outside the classroom, participating in a formal lesson on a mobile device; it can be self-directed, as a person determines his or her own approach to satisfy a learning goal; or spontaneous learning, as a person can use the devices to look up something that has just prompted an interest (Crompton, 2013, p. 83). (Gaming article Tallinn)Constructivist Learnings in the 1980s – Following Piage’s (1929), Brunner’s (1996) and Jonassen’s (1999) educational philosophies, constructivists proffer that knowledge acquisition develops through interactions with the environment. (p. 85). The computer was no longer a conduit for the presentation of information: it was a tool for the active manipulation of that information” (Naismith, Lonsdale, Vavoula, & Sharples, 2004, p. 12)Constructionist Learning in the 1980s – Constructionism differed from constructivism as Papert (1980) posited an additional component to constructivism: students learned best when they were actively involved in constructing social objects. The tutee position. Teaching the computer to perform tasks.Problem-Based learning in the 1990s – In the PBL, students often worked in small groups of five or six to pool knowledge and resources to solve problems. Launched the sociocultural revolution, focusing on learning in out of school contexts and the acquisition of knowledge through social interaction
Socio-Constructivist Learning in the 1990s. SCL believe that social and individual processes are independent in the co-construction of knowledge (Sullivan-Palinscar, 1998; Vygotsky, 1978).
96-97). Keegan (2002) believed that e-learning was distance learning, which has been converted to e-learning through the use of technologies such as the WWW. Which electronic media and tools constituted e-learning: e.g., did it matter if the learning took place through a networked technology, or was it simply learning with an electronic device?
Share with us practical examples of applying constructivist approach in your class
Would one hour workshop on turning existing class assignments into constructivist-based class assignments be of interest for you?
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.
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.”
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.