Let's get one thing out of the way; I love using technology in my classroom. I use multiple devices, websites, and apps everyday. However, as edtech becomes more prevalent, I hear a lot of fallacious reasoning around the topic that I think can be damaging to both teachers and students. Here are some of the things I hear:
- Mrs. X uses technology in her classroom, so she is a great teacher.
- Because school X is not using a 1 to 1 student device program, the students will not be well prepared for college or careers.
- Giving massive technology grants to low performing schools will solve the issues of educational inequity.
- Computer skills are replacing basic reading and writing skills in the new digital world.
Not only are most of those statements misleading in terms of causation vs. correlation, they are also unsupported in the research. It is my contention that edtech is the future for our students, but if we don't get a firm conceptual grasp on the limitations of technology in teaching and learning, the edtech revolution will be slow and painful for all those involved. Once we know more about what technology can and cannot do for our students, we can move forward to truly prepare the next generation. I do not assume to present all of the sources or solutions, but I do want to provide some light reading material to begin the conversation in our minds, faculties, and larger educational communities. Here are a few links to articles about the limits of technology in the classroom:
- NEA today lets us know that technology is significantly limited when we don't evolve our teaching methods. I see so many teachers using technology alongside the same old pedagogy. With the incredible influx of tools and information, we must adapt our methodologies to focus on higher level thinking skills
- The New York Times and a former executive from the Gates Foundation acknowledge that it is difficult to find data that supports large investments in classroom technology. I still think that technology has a rightful place in the 21st Century classroom, but we need to be wary of approaching it like a cure-all.
- NPR reminds us that that technology can't replace quality teachers in the effort to increase equity in education. We must continue addressing the education gap in America, but we cannot content ourselves with just throwing iPads at it.
- EdWeek adds that basic proficiency in reading and math are more important than access to the latest technology in creating equal opportunities in the digital world. It is not intuitive, but basic proficiency still trumps tech access. We must keep working toward the "old fashion goals" of reading and math.
- The Wall Street Journal reports lower achievement in reading and math when student computer use was "above average". We also have to be cautious of overuse of technology.
What has been your experience with edtech? We'd love to continue the discussion in the comment section below!