Overarching Goal of EDTECH

Teacher of the Year, Adam Bellows says, “if you can do this lesson without technology, that’s great, but if you can do it better with technology, then that is why you use it” (Edutopia, 2012).  Bellows is correct identifying the overarching goal of educational technology: to improve teaching and learning. Once upon a time, chalkboards and chalk were the latest technology to be integrated into the traditional classroom.  Since then, a plethora of inventions have penetrated their way into classrooms around the global. We can fast forward a couple centuries from the chalkboard to now see personalized devices, interactive displays, and flexible furniture being integrated into learning environments (Buzbee, 2014).  This integration occurs because learners can become more efficient and learn deeper with new technology in their learning environments: “With the world literally at their fingertips, today’s students need teachers and administrators to re-envision the role of technology in the classroom” (Blair, 2012).

In this discussion, it is crucial to recognize that technology is just a tool for teachers and students.  We can become more efficient with new educational technology, but technology is not an insta-cure. There are two old cliches that come to mind: a tool is only as good as its user and a man is only as good as the tools he has.  These paradoxical statements both make rational sense. When a user does not know how to operate or use the tool, the tool, no matter how powerful, loses its value. Conversely, when the necessary tool to perform the task is unavailable to the user, the user, no matter how technically skilled, is stuck.  From this perspective, a learning theory for educational technology is developed.

This theory recognizes these two statements.  New tools are only as good as the user. Therefore, training and professional development must be constantly provided to educators to continually sharpen their tools.  This development must be constant because new technology will continue to iterate to give users better tools to perform their tasks. In the end, Bellows is right. We can do it better with technology.  We just have to do it the right way.

A company, like ELB Education, sees the dual role they can play to support the integration of new tools.  ELB Education hires former teachers to do just:  “EC’s have lived and breathed education and have a firm understanding of what makes a successful classroom. Their expertise in the design and delivery of  learning spaces, their knowledge of the tools and technologies that make a difference, and their capabilities in developing effective professional development programs, ensures success time and time again” (ELB, 2018).  From technology to furniture, new tools are being created specifically for the classroom, fit for purpose.  Students and teachers can greatly benefit if they know how to effectively use these new learning tools.  Fundamentally, this educational theory is grounded in the belief that new technology will maximize the precious time teachers and students share together.

 

References:

Blair, N. (January 01, 2012). Technology Integration for the “New” 21st Century Learner. Principal, 91, 3, 8-11.

Buzbee, L. (2014). Blackboard: A personal history of the classroom. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press.

Edutopia. (2012). An Introduction to Technology Integration.  Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=43&v=d59eG1_Tt-Q

ELB. (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.elbeducation.com/education-team

 

Note:  This blog serves as Ben Arnold’s Vision Statement for ED TECH 541 – Integrating Technology into Classroom Curriculum.

2 comments

  1. Hi Ben,

    I like the statement, “if you can do this lesson without technology, that’s great, but if you can do it better with technology, then that is why you use it.” In one of the online college courses I teach, a writing course for interactive media, students create diagrams and mockups of potential screens or web pages to accompany their writing. Most of my students use software to create these images, and I tend to prefer that they do, because it usually results in a more professional looking image. But I sometimes have students who are good with a pen or pencil and sketch their mockups by hand. Often the results are more “human-generated” and communicate their ideas better than if they were rigid lines and boxes drawn on a computer. (They still have to use technology to place the images into their papers and upload them to the course website, though.)

    I do agree that technology is a tool for teachers and students. In the case of online education, technology is central to reaching the students. If the student or the teacher can insert a more human touch, such as hand-drawn images, that helps to increase the feeling of immediacy and intimacy in their work.

    I like your blog; nice work! I’m intrigued by your reference, Buzbee, L. (2014). Blackboard: A personal history of the classroom. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press. I teach in Blackboard, for better or worse, and I think I need to check that out.

    Best,
    Lisa

    Like

    • That article is a history of educational technology. It is a great read, but has nothing to do with Blackboard Learning Software.

      Like

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