Best Education Technology Test

mobile1Here’s an interesting test for your teaching faculty. Place a bunch of different digital devices on a table—mobile, smartphone, tablet, or laptop—and ask an educator to pick one. When he or she has, ask the teacher to use it—in some way. Don’t be surprised if the educator asks to pick up another device to do that task. Educators may know what they like, but likes may be completely different from what they know how to use. In many cases, educators have not thought of the possibilities either; they often only know what they’ve personally experienced—unless taken on that journey. Most educators carry a mobile phone, and while some may not carry a smartphone yet, we’re getting closer to that tipping point. So, it is quite possible that during this simple tech test educators will choose a smartphone as something they can actually use. If during a professional development workshop, you showed educators a good sample lesson that uses technology, you might get feedback like, “Why can’t I just do that on my mobile phone?”

We expect educators to use technology, and with students, but it is far too easy to avoid using it during a lesson for a lot of reasons. Reasons educators give might include the following: devices are too difficult to set up, registration is a nightmare, or the learning outcome takes too long. The biggest question might be, “What do I do with the results/data afterwards?” Even educators who jump through all the technological teaching hoops complain that the missing link is that getting work, data, images, and video from student devices to the teacher device, or to a central presentation whiteboard is just too difficult. Furthermore, the lessons and results may not be full-bodied or as complex as we’d like them to be. It is not uncommon for educators to say, “I need an easier way to get all of what my class does together, and individually, to a place where it can be used quickly, immediately in a lesson.” When that happens easily, devices, software, apps, and all the technology in a classroom can be connected to any lesson—on the fly, for all the individuals and groups participating in the lesson. The key point there is to make that participation and lesson building spontaneous, as well as useful and appropriate learning. Making classroom orchestration simple, but providing multi-dimensional, technology-based, project-based, and experiential outcomes, where students and teachers share creating, building and guiding learning is what’s needed. The game changer is when teachers teach and students participate—without technology barriers.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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