Technology for Technology's Sake: A Trend in Education

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
This week, I conducted an interview with Cherlyn Anderson, an Education Specialist with S2TEMCenters SC and former Instructional Technology Coordinator of Lexington School District Four in Lexington County, South Carolina. When I asked her about what technological trends are likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, and education over the next several years, one of her answers was very surprising! She stated one trend that she has noticed since many schools have moved to going 1:1 is using technology for technology’s sake (Anderson, personal communication, July 8, 2015).


Unfortunately, Anderson is not the only one to notice the trend. In a recent report on technology in education, Herold (2015) examines why most 1:1 classrooms are not converting into “student-centered, technology-driven” learning environments. Herold explains that the problem is not the technology, but the fact that teachers have done little to change their instructional practices, even when technology is involved. Leslie A. Wilson (cited in Herold, 2015), the chief executive officer of the One-to-One Institute, a nonprofit based in Mason, Michigan, states "There's nothing transformative about every kid having an iPad unless you're able to reach higher-order teaching and learning" (para. 7).

This trend is one I’ve noticed, too, as teachers in my district try to incorporate technology the best way they can because it has been mandated by the district. However, this trend is one that can be altered. Anderson (personal communication, July 8, 2015) further explained that when integrating technology, “good instruction still needs to be carefully and intentionally planned to promote greater student achievement. Exactly what tools will be used? How will they be used? What apps/software will lend to expand on the content students are studying? Is the tool/app/software just replacing paper and pencil?”

As I prepare to enter another school year in August, I plan to take all I have learned in my coursework with me. To me, technology in the classroom is not just another bandwagon, but a tool to enhance my instruction and my students’ learning. I aim to apply my knowledge about effective technology integration and implementation and use it to transform my classroom. I plan to learn from Anderson’s words and not be a part of the trend she described.

References
Herold, B. (2015). Why ed tech is not transforming how teachers teach. Technology Counts

2015: Learning the Digital Way, 34(35). Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/ 2015/06/11/index.html

4 comments:

  1. Hey again, Ashley!

    Good to see you again this week! I enjoyed listening to your post from your interview. This is one point that, unfortunately, I believe is happening more often than not. Instead of school districts deciding ahead of time what technology they would like to have (i.e. more computer labs, 1:1 devices, ect), they really need to see what and how exactly they can improve student outcomes, and THEN go from there in adapting new technologies. In other words, perhaps look at the software or other programs first, see how they could help in the classroom, and then decide to implement them. I think what happens in a lot of school systems is that money is budgeted for new computers or software, but there is no specific plan in place as to how those devices are going to be used for specific purposes. In an article by Myers (2014), the author emphasizes the point that technology can be ineffective in a classroom if there are "no objectives, predetermined outcomes or assessments", "no instructional strategies", or "no preparation for the technology environment". This concretes the points from your interview and reminds us that we should strive to implement each piece of equipment should be integrated in a purposeful and intentional way. Thank you for your post! Have a great week!

    Amanda

    Reference:


    Myers, J. (2014, March 24). When technology integration isn't effective in the classroom. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from https://www.gaggle.net/speaks/when-technology-integration-isnt-effective-in-the-classroom/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your reply, Amanda. As always, I enjoy hearing your point of view. Thanks again, and you have a great week, too!

      Delete
  2. Ashley,
    I agree with your posting that teachers are often using technology for its own sake. Since schools are mandating new technologies I think many teachers are floundering because they haven’t been trained to use them in with a particular focus in mind. Because of this they are feeling their way through learning how to incorporate this technology in their particular subject area(s). According to Cox (2013) the training for teachers who are older and/or tenured has gaps in this particular area. “More tenured teachers are different than their younger colleagues in that they did not receive the same quantity of preservice technology integration instruction as part of their teacher education as their younger counterparts” (p.209) This report looks at the four major priorities which technology facilitators need to focus on in their role of assisting to rectify this gap. They are “planning for technology, addressing teacher concerns, understanding and addressing the technological ability differences amongst staff and comentorship and collaboration” (p.209). I also think the third focus needs to also be tailored with teaching them new student-centered methodologies. I think this is what you were focusing on.
    Catherine

    Cox, J. (2013). Tenured teachers & technology integration in the classroom. Contemporary Issues in Education Research (Online), 6(2), 209-n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1418450397?accountid=12085

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Ashley,
    Great job on this! Some of the issues you have mentioned are in line with the questions that are addressed in Dr Joy Zabala's SETT framework. (student environment task tool). Do a google search and let me know what you think!
    Cheers,
    Doc

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