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EdTech Promised to Change How Students Learn, But the Real Revolution Lies Within Us

Posted on 09/28/2022

Education waits for the magic something that we can purchase to substantially change student learning. Whether it is the SMART board or Overhead projector (remember back in the day), these items were supposed to make educational experiences better.

Thomas Edison is credited with this quote, “I believe that the motion picture is destined to revolutionize our educational system and that in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks…The education of the future, as I see it, will be conducted through the medium of the motion picture… where it should be possible to obtain one hundred percent efficiency.”

The Isabel Bozada-Jones argues, “throughout the last 100 years, technology has promised to revolutionize how we teach, radically reconstruct the relationship between teacher and student, and fundamentally change how students learn and work together.” Many of these technological advances have yet to live up to their big promises. “How can we redesign systems to provide equitable educational experiences for all students?

In 1969, the first computer-assisted instruction experiments occurred in Texarkana, Arkansas. Students sat at “machines to take diagnostic tests, complete lessons, and answer basic questions.” This technology promised to revolutionize learning without teachers. While the company ultimately “profited off the student’s lesson progression, the company measured their success based on curriculum they created for the test.”

Today blended learning software follows the same formula. Students took a test that created a personalized learning platform and took the test again to see if it worked. While students improved on the test, they did not appreciate the learning. “Despite our best efforts, we have not created a program that can teach better than a well-trained, supported educator.”

However, technology can change the way students learn and work together. This transformation jumpstarted during the Pandemic. Despite the money spent, students have “yet to recover from the learning loss.” Bozada-Jones dove deeper into tech and why schools considered it “high quality.” She came to the realization that edtech “provides incredibly useful tools, but these are just tools. Edtech cannot revolutionize teaching and learning-only us, the people who show up daily for our kids and communities, can do that.

Technology is never going to be the “magic solution to our problems.” However, it does connect worlds “beyond ourselves and stretch the limits of human knowledge.” There is “room for teachers and technology to co-exist. Technology helps students read, problem-solve, and explore the world around them.

Full Article: EdTech Promised to Change How Students Learn, But the Real Revolution Lies Within Us

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.