Teacher’s Week, Tuesday. Technology in the Classroom

As a technology company approaching the classroom, Mobility Labs is concerned with three things:

  • How are things being done?
  • Can they be done better?
  • Who should lead the change?

Currently, in the press, there is a lot of optimism and enthusiasm for the adoption of technology in the classroom. For instance:

There’s no doubt that technology belongs in the classroom, and that it will have strongly positive effects. At least once we get it right.

A recent survey by the Gates Foundation highlighted the gap between where we are and where, according to teachers, we should be. We will take a deeper dive into this report tomorrow, but for now we are just looking at teachers and how they feel about the technology they have at hand. (full disclosure, Mobility Labs has contracts with the Gates Foundation. It should also be noted that the Gates Foundation is an active leader in changing education, not just an impartial pollster) Here are some quotes from the survey:

My students are going to be using this technology in their jobs, at home, and in everyday life. … We need, as educators, to embrace the technology to ‘speak’ the language our students understand.

Much of what is currently out there is very simplistic and not promoting critical thinking. … I’m willing to integrate more technology into my classroom, but I need help finding high-quality resources without having to sift through all the junk that’s out there.

Always remember that something is not “better” simply by virtue of being digital. So often we fetishize technology, acting as if it improves learning simply by virtue of being technological. Find resources that are inherently valuable, not the-same-thing-but-online-now!

I am not a fan of tools that make kids practice mindless exercises or … watch boring lectures. Teaching with standards is not equivalent to covering a checklist of topics, [it] is an art form that takes thought for how to challenge students to synthesize and apply the content that they have learned. This is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve through the current state of technological options.

We continue to salute teachers all week, this week, and hope that technology developers and innovators keep in mind that we all should be listening to what teachers tell us they really need.

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