EdTech Musings

I saw a very interesting article on Twitter this morning and it brought up so many of the niggling issues I have when I get all evangelistic about technology in education. It doesn’t make me doubt the usefulness of technology itself, but the implementation of it. I highly suggest reading The Laptops Are Coming by Sarah Heller McFarlane to get a teachers reflection of her first year of teaching with a classroom of laptops – it brings up some interesting issues that I’m currently processing.

And I believe this is important even in the advent of 3D technolgy Check ths BCN3D Sigma review to see what I mean.

The main thing Im taking away from Heller-McFarlanes article is this (one that Ive heard over and over again, especially when I was meeting with a group of ed tech people earlier this month):

Technology does not solve all problems and throwing technology at teachers without working it seamlessly into existing curriculum is NOT the answer.

The solution? Im working on it, I know its out there. Right now, Im going with this:

Before a district spends even one more dollar on technology, they need to spend the money on people. People to make the decisions about the technology, people to train teachers, people to help with the integration.

Before all of that, though, they need to spend the money to make sure there are enough people PERIOD.

A 4th grade classroom of 29 students with one teacher and no TA is positively impacted more by the addition of a TA than by a set of laptops. Do I have numbers on this? No. Do I have experience in 4th grade classrooms with too many kids and not enough teachers? Yes. I want my own children in classrooms with human beings to …

The New Meaning of Homework

The traditional school desk is being replaced by a kitchen table. The educational shift is known as on-line (or distance) learning, where all a student essentially needs is a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. Sometimes, you they may carry some aids such as a 3D drawing pen , rulers, Plasticine and so on.

Such education is similar to a correspondence course, where the student receives a course pack of materials and learns at home. The format can seem very appealing; however, it also has its drawbacks. On-line learning can be effective for those students who live at a distance from the educational institution. Traveling time, fuel and maintenance costs as well as wear and tear on a vehicle may be excessive and will often make daily commuting to and from classes impossible. Who wants to be on the road at 6:00 a.m. and drive for a couple of hours to arrive for an 8:00 a.m. class? Inclement weather would dramatically slow that commute.

On-line learning also offers tremendous flexibility to students; while there are deadlines to complete assigned readings and write tests, one can make one’s time his/her own. Reading textbook chapters can be done at 3:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon. If there is noise in the house, one can wear noise cancelling ear plugs and continue reading.

Such flexibility may strongly appeal to single parents (who can save childcare costs by remaining at-home), full-time employees or even adult caregivers. Mature students may not feel comfortable returning to a school setting and could prefer this method of study. Students are not restricted to studying at-home either; they can pack up their laptops and visit their public library or sit on their patio on a pleasant day. On-line course offerings work well for educational institutions as …