Sunday, June 19, 2016

What Teacher Survey Says About Our Tech Goals

A recent survey of teachers by Education Week pointed to some disappointing results.
The title says it all:
Teachers Still Struggling to Use Tech to Transform Instruction, Survey Finds

What is encouraging is that the title acknowledges a worthwhile goal - going beyond technology integration and aims at transforming practice.

The survey found that the strongest area of integration occurred in drill, review, practice problems. While that area shows promise in using personalized learning data to customize student pathways (identifying strengths, weaknesses, and pacing), at it’s core it is usually serving a very traditional goal. It transforms instruction in helping students get to the traditional “goal” faster, but it does little to transform education.
This more lofty goal - using technology to transform education - is an area where we are just getting started. Are we utilizing technology to transform the type of learning that is possible? Are we moving beyond recall and asking students to...
… critically think?
… collaborate?
… communicate with clarity?
… create solutions while using content?
… play a part in evaluating the quality of the solutions?
This is a topic I’ve explored in more detail in an earlier post.
The other areas from the survey (games, collaboration, projects) represent integration goals which have greater potential to transform instruction and education to better target the skills we  need for students in the 21st Century. We should continue to explore, research, and create in these domains.
Unless we ask the larger question, we will be limited by focusing our technology goals on helping us meet yesterday’s education goals. Our students (and teachers!) need us to think bigger.