When implemented carefully–with adequate attention paid to training, support, and evaluation–technology has been found to have a significant positive impact on student learning across all areas of the curriculum, according to a new report. So, why do critics of educational technology still decry the billions of dollars being spent on ed tech in schools across the nation? For one thing, many educators have “miscalculated” the difficulty of implementing technology effectively, the report says–and ed-tech advocates also might have “over-promised” their ability to deliver a learning return on their investment.
The story goes on to talk about a new study Technology in Schools, prepared by the Metiri Group and commissioned by Cisco Systems. The report finds that:
Researchers find that extracting the full learning return from a technology investment requires much more than the mere introduction of technology with software and web resources aligned with the curriculum. It requires the triangulation of content, sound principles of learning, and high-quality teaching—all of which must be aligned with assessment and accountability.
Not exactly earth shattering news. But maybe we can move the debate now away from its techno-centric focus (“what is the effect of the technology”) to a learning focus (“what information/skills do people need and what is the best way for them to learn”).
Note that I said learning, not teaching. Teaching is the means – learning is the goal. New methods (and technologies) for teaching are fine. But it should be all about what the learners need (I hate to call them students, because that puts them in the passive situation) – not what the teachers need.
So lets start talking about learning styles, use of technology to enhance learning (including serious games) and access to information. Please?