We as a society certainly live in a truly amazing age of innovation, one which has shown enormous advancements in education technology from interactive whiteboards to distance learning to the usage of software and mobile devices, and with this we see how teachers are able to bring a whole new dimension of learning and engagement to students of any age.
I have personally been involved in working with educators for almost 15 years in designing and installing technology for the classroom, both in K-12 and higher education. To say that we have come a long way now in terms of the technologies for learning and advancement which present themselves would be a tremendous understatement – we are at the point of a true technology boom for education.
However, there are still those schools across the country, on all grade levels, that have not yet explored the numerous technology possibilities that present themselves today. Certainly we are all familiar with usage of projectors and the SMART Board, as well as what distance learning brings to the classroom in terms of the “virtual field trip.” This is not to say that these tools do not still have value certain today, though some lessened to a degree. There are, however, numerous technology options available to increase learning and overall awareness for students of the world around them, again on any grade level.
A recent article in EdTech, Q&A: Education Technology Expert On Teaching the Next Generation of Teacher, highlights Jessica Brogley (University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s School of Education), instructor, trainer and blogger who is teaching the next generation of teachers and sees plenty of room for new solutions and strategies. In the article she states when asked ‘how does classroom technology influence the role of educators?’:
Teachers have to be intentional to stay current with learning technology. If you take six months off from playing with technology, you have fallen behind. There’s just so much out there. Virtual and augmented reality, coding, makerspaces — all of those things require us to constantly stay fresh with ideas and to understand how to utilize those tools.
My college students, who are going to be teachers, are aware that these tools are out there. My goal is to expose them to as much as possible and get them thinking through that lens. Technology is not a wave that will go away, and it’s not somebody else’s responsibility. It’s just how we do business as teachers.
Where it comes to what she would like to see educators do differently, she had this to say:
Technology is everywhere, especially for our college students. One semester, I had them tally up how many devices connect to the internet in their apartment. For some, it was more than 15 devices. That idea of accessing information and collaborating on the spot is so normal in students’ social lives. I would like to see us design more lessons to make that kind of collaboration part of their educational lives too.
As one who has devoted himself to enabling conversation and awareness of AV and IT technologies for education (two are here on Convergent Tech Blog), to go with a career in integrating such technologies for K-12 and higher ed, I find that we are in the best position now to bring new, enhanced technologies for learning along with collaboration, as Brogley points out, than ever before. I have interfaced with many CIO’s, IT Directors, administrators and teachers in my time and know that the devotion to technology advancement continues to be at the forefront. It has to be as, I’ll repeat, technology is not a wave that will go away – it only continues to evolve and represent continued innovation for the teaching process.