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Posts Tagged ‘shift

This critique of how people think about the effectiveness of edtech might push some folks to think more deeply about technology implementations in schools and universities.

It first suggested that most people assume that edtech and teaching practices independently impact learning outcomes. The article said this was wrong.

It then suggested that we should consider how edtech primarily influences teacher practices which then influence learning outcomes. While it did not discount the direct impact of edtech on learning outcomes should students learn independently of teachers, it relegated the importance of this route.

I would agree totally if it were not the fact that teacher practices do not necessarily change with technology use. This analysis of 41 teachers and the sample narrative illustrate this point.

I argue that the paradigm needs to shift to one where edtech directly impacts learning when it is in the hands of learners. Why? If teachers and teaching are like chemical reactions, they are the rate determining steps. However, they change too slowly to be noticed or to keep up with the times.

The edtech paradigm needs to match current reality. So what does that look like? Something like this.

Universities then and now.

Universities of old used to be centres of knowledge and learning. There was a nett outflow from these centres to the wider world.

While most universities might still see themselves operating this way in terms of research, much of their teaching is influenced by what is happening on the outside. They no longer are the only or primary lead in determining learning outcomes. You need only see the importance of portfolios, internships, vocational work, on-the-job training, and work-based qualifications to see how this is true.

Returning to edtech implementation, the indirect impact of edtech on learners via teachers is like relying on the university to learn about the wider world of work. The indirect approach relies on teachers to first see themselves also as learners and to change how they teach. If teachers do this, they learn to educate and can be very effective. However, this takes more time than the direct route of students learning how to be more independent with the edtech tools they already have.

Now this does not mean that teachers should not use edtech. It does mean teachers need to learn to be lead learners first. If they do this, they might combine wisdom from their adult experiences with the new found affordances of edtech to co-learn with their students. They become part of the wider world to wield influence not only on their students but also their schools.

I read this forum letter and squirmed a bit. The premise of the first half of the letter seemed to be that if you change expectations about the PSLE, stakeholder behaviours will change too.

While that is probably true, the premise presupposes that shifting the goalposts in the new PSLE format (from T-scores to achievement levels) is the same as changing expectations. But if the expectations remain largely in the academic domain, the behaviours that feed it may remain the same, e.g., hothousing, drilling, excessive tuition.

Behaviours also shape expectations. People tend to use the same old strategy when facing a new situation. If it works, or if they can bend the the new situation to their will, they will take the path of least resistance. Behaviour can entrench the status quo.

If we shift the goalposts, will the way we kick the ball will also change? After all, the goal is still to score a goal.

If the point in play is penalty kicks to tie-break at the end of the game, the high stakes tend to favour practised drills and time-tested strategies.

The ball has to end up in the back of the net enough times so that you win. Likewise, a child has to do well enough in the PSLE to get to the next round of schooling, preferably in a match that favours him/her.

Those are the rules and the rules can change. Perhaps we need to play a different game altogether.

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