Originally posted on 11/24/2014 on the Remind blog.
Introducing new educational technology tools cannot, and will not, solve problems in education on their own – if we try to do old work with new tools, we will not see progress. Progress comes when we teach our students how to think strategically, instead of merely giving them new technology without concrete learning objectives.
Last week, Remind hosted an exciting event that helped educators and leaders in the edtech space came together to collaborate, learn from one another, and work to solve current education issues. Alan November and Jill Bromenschenkel of November Learning co-hosted with us to go through the design thinking process for both teaching and education technology development. Alan addressed a troubling problem plaguing our educational system: Why, with all of the technology available to educators, have students’ test scores remained stagnant since the 1970s?
Stop the “thousand dollar pencil plan”
Alan cited Shoshana Zuboff’s 1988 novel titled In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, which explores information technology in the workplace. Zuboff argues that simply introducing technology to a workplace – or, in our case, a school – does not improve productivity. So, what does this mean for education?
The issues that existed in education 40+ years ago have not been properly addressed and are still present in education today. Introducing new educational technology tools cannot, and will not, solve these problems on their own – if we try to do old work with new tools, we will not see progress. Progress comes when we teach our students how to think strategically, instead of merely giving them new technology without concrete learning objectives. As educators, we need to think about how we can improve deeper learning first, before selecting the technology to help us achieve our goals. Simply purchasing “a thousand dollar pencil plan”, or a cartful of devices, does not immediately improve education. Direction is needed. It is only through establishing clear learning outcomes that technology can truly help learning.
We are inspired by all of the teachers who understand that students benefit from personalized, human relationships and technology should facilitate this, not hinder it. The best 1:1 device is a good teacher, and technology is merely a tool to connect teachers, students, and parents together. In the next 40 years, the mobile revolution will continue to push us to find better, faster ways to help these human connections – and we can’t wait to be part of that process.
By Clara Galan, Content Marketing Manager at Remind
A former teacher of ELA, ESL and Spanish for K-12, she is passionate about the importance of relationships in social-emotional learning and educating the whole child. Prior to joining Remind, Clara worked for the George Lucas Educational Foundation in social media marketing. Clara lives in San Francisco and loves learning about education technology and tools to improve the education system.