It seems as though it is all too hard sometimes. So much to learn, so much to do and do we really need another thing? First came the Internet, then we learnt with LMS’s , next iPads and now 2 in 1 devices with styluses. So why bother trying? Why bother learning the next best technology tool?
For a long time now, we have watched fads come and go, and ever since the days of Socraties, we’ve known that students will be students and teachers, well…we do what we can with the resources we have…but when are we going to stand up for the rights of students and really get what is needed in education?
It is so abundantly clear, that there is a desperate need for increased smart spending in the classroom. We have BYOD programs, 1 to 1 programs if you have the funds and then we have schools that just have a bit of everything. What is right and what is needed?
What is clear?
- There is a clear need for more classroom based research on the effective use of technology in the classroom.
- There is a clear need for more funding for technology use in the classroom.
- There is a clear need for research guided teacher and students professional development into the smart use of technology.
How do we achieve these goals?
- Government funding needs to be funnelled to support classroom based research.
- Government funding for funding sake needs to be questioned. Funding of programs should be backed by research demonstrated practices. This means the removal of barriers to effective teaching and learning with technology.
- We need a clear district level professional development program. Clear links between schools and universities, established to ensure that university researchers have access to training our teaching and student populations. Teachers need professional development that will have an impact on learning, and have access to more than just what their school provides. Government funded regular professional development co-jointly run with university researchers actively working in schools needs to happen.
What about software and hardware?
It is abundantly clear that stylus based technologies have a whole world of potential for classrooms. I recently learned of one state not even allowing their schools to use OneNote Class Notebook. This Australian state government authority is clearly limiting the potential of learning, and maybe it’s because their schools do not have the infrastructure (Internet capabilities and bandwidth) to support such technologies. If we are going to be speaking of effective research backed methods such as on-going formative assessments, then we need to be able to see what students are doing live. While OneNote is not the only application of its type, it is in a state of on-going development by a team that is closely linked to a software and hardware provider that develops stylus based devices that are awesome for learning.
Let us take down the barriers that prevent schools from achieving quality outcomes with the effective use of research backed education. Let’s allow universities into schools in a controlled way, but let’s allow this research to have a real impact by removing such barriers, even if only to trial in specific trial schools first. Let’s put in stylus based devices in 10 schools across the state and see what effect it has on performance results and engagement. Something needs to be done, instead of us living in a perpetual state of stagnation. We can’t go on the way we are going, and there is a desperate need for many of issues addressed in the post to be discussed.
Let us stop the blame game and let governments and universities work more WITH schools to bring about effective change in schools today. Australia can lead the way. We have the teachers and the universities to do this. We just need to invest!