No Reason for No Technology!
Today, a school without appropriate technology in the hands of students and teachers, as well as the right types of small and large group learning digital resources, continues to put students and teachers in a disadvantaged position, and one that gets more difficult to overcome as school days march on. It can add to the growing numbers of unemployed, and a devastating future for national economies, too.
A friend of mine shared an all too common scenario. It is one that should be rare in this century, but it’s not. Her nephew, a 4th grader, attends a school that uses very little to no technology. His parents are planning to move him to a new school, because they can, where there is an abundance of technology. She wanted to know what I thought.
My friend asked, “Is technology only a tool that may make it easier, but not really enhance the education of those who are exposed to it in the classroom?” She was worried that her nephew would be left behind due to his lack of technology experience in the classroom. I think she knew the technology benefit was obvious. My friend continued, “How will this affect students. Will they be just fine? Have they missed a vital experience to prepare them for the future?” She wondered if learning curve for her nephew would be too great for him to overcome.
Part of the answer to that is absolutely not for students, but it may be more difficult at the higher-grade levels. Kids seem to have super powers when it comes to technology and learning new things—especially the youngest of them. They don’t skip a beat. If asked that question about teachers, though, I’d have to say that adults would have more difficulty. They are not quite the technological sponges, and often need more help in the form of directed continuing professional development to adapt to new.
More importantly, for educators there is a difference in just using technology and teaching with digital tools. The latter needs to be the expected goal today. That requires the right technology in all districts, as well as the right professional development regardless of any budgetary excuses. And there really are no legitimate excuses today for lack of appropriate technology in schools, or the lack of proper teaching technology. There are ways to get there, and to make this happen. To continue, head in sand, last-century learning and teaching is a disservice to students and educators. Let’s answer the “we have no technology” question today, so we can get to the real “teaching and learning with technology” answer now. We are too far into this digital learning century to have schools continue without the best technological resources. Absolutely no reason for no technology!
About the Author:
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 a Promethean storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.