Educational Technology: the Good, the Bad, and the Buggy!

A recent article by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation caught my eye.  The article Why We Shouldn’t Fear Technology in the Classroom, didn’t really grab me for the headline but for the “so called” fears they listed. Let me share those with you as well as my thoughts on each:

Time:  Yes, it can take time to learn a new software program and many out there can take far too long time to learn. Good educational technology provides a tremendous time savings that is almost immediate. HINT:  Ask educators who have used the technology program how long it took them to get up and running and if it has saved them time?

Classroom Management:  “When it comes down to class management, the addition of computers can add more stress if handled incorrectly,” or so says the article.  Some technology companies understand better than others how to make the process of setting up the new program seamless. HINT: Ensure that the new technology is engaging and motivating to the students. When students want to use the program classroom management becomes much easier.

Safety Fears:  This simply should not be a fear anymore. All legitimate educational technology companies take great pains to safeguard student information. HINT: Ask to see their privacy policy.

Support and Help:  Unfortunately, I’ve heard from many hard working educators who felt they were left high and dry with a technology program that simply never worked right. HINT: Ask about customer support before bringing in a new technology program. Even better, talk to someone using the program and ask about customer support.

Adequate Training: This goes hand in hand with support.  Yes, all good technology providers offer training.  But how much training is required to become competent at using the program?  This is important for both the educator and the student using the program. This comes right back to the time factor. How complicated does the program seem to be?  HINT: When looking at case histories and results pay attention to the timing. How long did it take the schools to get results?  That’s the best indication of ease of use.

Kevin Briley is CEO of Ascend Education, creators of Ascend Math, intensive math intervention that meets each student at their lowest skill gap and guides each through an individualized study plan, often resulting in 1-2 grade levels of improvement in the first few months.

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