The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

I recently read yet another article that questioned the effect of using technology in education. I believe it stated that there are 3.6 million educators using edtech as the basis for the post. The post itself was well done, but throughout my reading I was troubled by what defined an edtech-using educator. How is it determined that an educator is truly an edtech user?

I have been in meetings where educators had to fill out questionnaires asking about their technology experience. They claimed to be technology-using educators based solely on their use of Power Point for lectures. Technically using Power Point for a lecture does require technology, but that is like claiming to be a social media guru after using Facebook to only follow some family members who post their family vacation pictures at every opportunity.

If we were to do a survey of ten educators who claim to be edtech-users and six of them base their claim on power point lectures alone, and two use tech to send digital worksheets to their students, and the final two educators have students using tech apps for collaboration, curation, communication and creation of content, we could confidently claim that Edtech is not having a great effect on learning. It would be effective for probably less than 20% of the students. The next obvious question would be, how much of an effect is tech having on learning in the classes of those final two educators alone? I imagine the resulting percentage would be a much more positive influence than the other classes, but we lump everyone together.

If we are to establish data on the effects of technology in education, we need to first establish a valid method of evaluating the information from a level playing field. We need to evaluate the experience of the educators claiming to use it. Teachers, who have been identified as users of tech to teach need to, at the very least, be digitally literate. Consequently, we first need to define what is meant by digitally literate. It should not require that a person needs expertise on every application available, but it does assume at the least a comfort with some tools for collaboration, curation, communication and creation of content, the very things we want our students to learn. How many schools can claim a majority of their teachers and administrators have such a comfort level with technology?

In order to determine the effect of technology on learning for students, we need to establish the effects of technology on teaching for teachers. Let us collect data from tech-savvy teachers who model tech use as much as they would hope for their students’ use to be. We need to clearly state what we expect a technology-literate educator to be. It is no longer acceptable to allow educators or administrators to determine what they are minimally going to commit to when it comes to learning tech for professional development. We have reached a point where what was minimally accepted even five years ago is not acceptable now. We must have higher standards for educators if we have certain expectations for students. The education system does not create what society demands for students to survive and thrive in this technology-driven world. It does however need prepare kids for that very life.

Of course this will never be a popular position to take with most educators. They have all attended school for years to prepare for their positions. Their preparation to become an educator was left in the hands of the colleges and universities under the scrutiny of accreditation organizations. The question is how do those institutions stay relevant in an ever-changing technology-driven world?

If the demands of the world that we live in keep evolving and changing at a pace never before experienced in history, we need to adjust what we are doing to meet those demands. We cannot count on 20th Century methodology to prepare our kids for 21stCentury demands. Before we redefine what we expect from our students, we need to first redefine what we expect from their educators. If we need to determine if technology is having a positive effect on learning, we need to determine if it is being equally provided to students by educators who have a thorough understanding of technology and are flexible enough to meet the inevitable changes that technology fosters. As always, if we are to better educate our kids, we need to first better educate their educators.

Views: 86

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

Comment by Steven Engravalle on January 13, 2018 at 3:57pm

Very well said.

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

John Marsh posted a blog post

Calculus Tutoring

Calculus is originated from a Latin word ‘calculus’ and literally, it signifies 'small pebble'. However, it is a mathematical study related to continuous change, similarly the algebra, geometry, and others. There are two different prominent branches of calculus Differential Calculus (concerned with the slopes of the curve and rates of change) and Integral Calculus (related to the areas between…See More
Tuesday
Ethan Dunwill posted a blog post

How to Stay Connected to Your Family While You Are Teaching Abroad

Say you’ve always wanted to teach English abroad, you studied hard and that new TESOL/TEFL Certificate is in your hot little hands and now,…See More
Apr 12
Dorothy Hastings posted a status
"Every child has a different learning style. Understanding how your child learns is important. Read more... https://bit.ly/2HvHMC3"
Apr 12
Preston Felix commented on Catrin Cooper's blog post 5 Ways to Teach Kids Essay Writing at Home
"Writing an argumentative essay is very different from writing an academic essay. However, even in an academic essay, you’d still be hoping to persuade the reader to agree with your point of view. This is because you are advocating a certain…"
Apr 11
Lynea Preston joined Steven Isaacs's group
Thumbnail

Online Teaching and Learning

Share resources, strategies, and experiences related to online teaching and learning.See More
Apr 9
Naini Singh updated their profile
Apr 7
Profile IconDaisy B. Badilla, Megan Eader, Monica Haley and 1 more joined The Educator's PLN
Apr 7
Megan Eader liked Steven Cortez's discussion Online Classroom - Science Labs
Apr 7

Awards And Nominations

© 2018   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service