Hope as we might, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges faced by public schools. But, then, you knew that already.
This is especially true when it comes to the use of technology.
Technology alone won’t revolutionize education, but it can help. Provided you have realistic expectations for what technology can and can’t do in schools.
Writing for Ed Surge, Rebecca Recco compiled a nifty list of five myths about education technology, and the real truth behind each. Here’s some highlights:
1. Technology will fix all the problems.
Technology is not an answer—it’s a tool. Your next high-tech innovation is only as effective as the strategy that drives it. With all the cool stuff out there, it’s tempting to reach for a technology angle in every lesson. Don’t. Technology for technology’s sake can be detrimental to the learning experience. Here’s a quick question to ask before you integrate technology in your next lesson plan: Does it enrich the learning experience? If not, cut it.
2. Limiting access to certain technology will help protect students and staff.
We all want to shield our students from inappropriate content, but walling off access to technology at school amounts to a knee-jerk reaction—one that could backfire. That’s true for teachers too. The last thing you want to do is unintentionally restrict access to lesson plans, innovations, and apps that could help them plan more engaging lessons.
The best way to protect students and staff, according to Recco? Education. Teach students and staff how to use technology and turn them into responsible digital citizens who exercise their own judgement to steer clear of online trouble.
3. Data shows that technology leads directly to student success.
Much of the current classroom technology on the market today is exceptionally good at drilling students with math and science problems, or with exercises in English and grammar. From these “drill-and-kill” apps, educators have gathered a lot of data about how students are doing on these types of exercises. But rote problem sets don’t necessarily translate into higher achievement.
Says Recco: “Get students involved in creative learning, and they will be using technology to learn and create rather than regurgitate and earn points.” Well said.
4. Games improve student achievement.
As with most education technology, not all games are created equal. It’s well and good to introduce simple, guess-the-answer type games in your classrooms—they’re easy to use and don’t require a lot of training to get going. But they do little to challenge students on a deeper level.
Recco recommends using games like the popular Minecraft, which allow students to plan and create. That critical thinking will go much further than any amount of points or high scores earned on assessment-type programs, she says.
5. Learning with technology isn’t real learning.
Sure, if you’re entire lesson is based on students staring at a screen all day, they will lose out on the immersion of a traditional, real-world lesson. Here’s the thing: That’s not a technology problem. It’s a teaching failure. Teachers need to learn to use technology to complement more traditional forms of classroom engagement, not replace it.
Says Recco: “Technology creates opportunities to move outside the classroom and into the world to experience things that students would never experience in a traditional classroom.”
For more on how to integrate classroom technology effectively in your school or district, check out Recco’s full Ed Surge article.
How does your district strike a balance between technology and real-world learning? Tell us in the comments.
Planning an education technology overhaul in your district? Bring students and parents into that conversation early and often to find out what they want.