Another dot in the blogosphere?

Teachers perspectives on edtech

Posted on: February 26, 2021

I found this selection of perspectives from teachers who used edtech in their classrooms interesting.

Not eye-opening because these were pretty well-informed and critical views of teachers who had been around the block and who seemed to care for their learners.

They were interesting because of the deep insights and persistent misconceptions. An example of the former:

…one thing about technology that can’t be said enough is that it is NOT neutral. I so often hear “it’s just a tool” arguments, but it is more than that–especially digital technologies. These have embedded in them the views, values, and (often) misconceptions of the developers. If a school adopts a platform or LMS, it is also bringing on board those things…

An example of the latter:

It would be interesting to have two classrooms of the same subject at the same grade level, one high tech, one old-school and feed those students into the same classroom the next year. Ask that next year teacher if there is a measurable difference between the groups.

Such a design might have been common two or three decades ago, but it is unethical to do this nowadays. Technology “treatments” are not like SARS-CoV-2 vaccine placebos vs treatments.

The vaccines are tested because they are the one big factor that is supposed to make a difference. Edtech is not the one big thing that is supposed to raise test scores (that teacher mentioned AP test results in an earlier part of his quote). There are many co-factors that influence test scores so they become confounding variables in a treatment vs control design.

The first example was from a teacher who seemed to have a more systemic view of how things work. We need more teachers who learn and apply that perspective. These teachers will be less frustrated when they fail with edtech and more appreciative when they succeed.

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