EdTech: Start with the why?

Back in 2013 I shared a framework in relation to EdTech which consisted in 4 layers.   The bottom layer being focussed on understanding why EdTech is important, the next layer concerned with fundamental building blocks, before training/professional development, eventually leading to confidence.

Looking back at this framework, I think there may be some things which could do with being added, however largely I think it still stands.

Considering the first level of my framework, focussed on all involved being aware and embracing the reasoning as to why technology is important, I identified the following:

  • Technology Based World: The world is certainly more technology based then ever before as we live through the current pandemic, as we seek to keep in touch with others via Zoom, we seek to work and learn from home and we use apps in almost every area of our lives.
  • Manager of Learning: In the pandemic, we havent had access to the usual data associated with teaching face to face, however instead we have access to analytics in relation to student interaction with online platforms plus tools such as the replay function in OneNote which provides us insight into students learning in how their answers to questions have developed.
  • Deliverer of Learning: Online platforms can deliver the learning content to students and then guide students through additional materials based on their strengths and weaknesses, all on an individual student level.
  • Facilitator of Learning: Technology has facilitated learning opportunities which wouldn’t have previously been possible including allowing guest speakers to join virtual classrooms or students to explore space via VR.   There are still many further opportunities which we have not yet identified.
  • Research Evidence:  This point I am not so sure on; The evidence which currently exists often presents opposing outcomes.   I think in 2013 having been focussed on the benefits of EdTech I may not have truly appreciated some of the research which found against edTech’s impact.   That said, for me, there is enough research to suggest technology can, in the right context, with the right staff involved and applied in the right way, have a positive impact on learning.
  • Changing Brains: This is another point, on reflection, I am not as confident on now that 8 years have passed.   I think back in 2013 I was concious of evidence regarding changes in how we think, some brought about by requirements of the changing world and some brought about by technology itself.   Technology therefore is important in allowing us to be flexible, agile and adaptive.
  • Globalisation: As the world collectively suffers from the impact of a global pandemic, I think it is all the more evident that the world is getting smaller and that we are increasing living in a global world.   As such we need to embrace technology to help us to make the most of this globalisation.

Considering where we are now, in a pandemic, where technology has become critical to the continuing provision of lessons and learning, my hope is that within education in general we now better appreciates why we need to be making use, or even better use, of technology in our schools.  

Before seeking to use technology in our schools, it is important to start with the why, and understand the reasoning behind its importance.

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Author: garyhenderson2014

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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