As millions of students head back to school, families are probably wondering if those shiny new devices, apps, and even games that are becoming a typical part of the school day are good for learning. As an education researcher focused on blended learning, I am often asked if education technology “works.” The underlying question here for all of us, myself included, is: “Based on the current evidence, do I want my child’s educational experience to include ed tech?”
Has a more hotly debated or wholly unanswerable question ever been posed? One can easily imagine an Epic Rap Battle of History between the Luddites and Futurists on this very topic. And nowhere is that seemingly innocuous question more likely to ruffle feathers than in the realm of education.
In 1944 Congress passed the G.I. Bill, making a college education -- something once reserved for the rich -- into a real possibility for returning middle class soldiers. Today, access to education is still being expanded, and not just across class lines. Modern day education institutions are using technology in unprecedented ways to make sure that no student is left behind, regardless of their disability, distance, learning style, or background.
In his book, "Rewiring Education," John D. Couch explores how teachers can use technology to improve the learning experience. Couch is Apple's vice president of education, and he points out that today's students are digital natives: They grew up with the iPhone, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Wikipedia. As a result, they don't see technology as a tool, as previous generations did.
Developing the technology-enabled workforce has topped the discussion agenda for thought leaders in business, politics and policy. Now, that discussion is rapidly moving to the K-12 education system, where the next generation must prepare for a world in which advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will be the norm and not the novelty.
I think it’s time for education technology leaders to head to the classroom--as teachers. Whether they’re MBAs, technologists, or literacy leaders, they can all teach a lesson or two about life and business. And in doing so, they might also pick up a quick tip or two that can help them build stronger products and businesses that better serve teachers and learners.
The education crisis cannot be solved by putting students in front of tablets. George Mason University professor of economics Tyler Cowen argues that if humans would follow rules and behave rationally, MOOCs might be the solution. The problem is we don’t. He suggests that students will not learn as efficiently when sitting alone in front of a computer than when surrounded by peers: Students learn better when they are within a community of learners.
Artificial intelligence technology is having a big impact on the experience of providing and delivering education. It's already transforming the way students learn, assisting teachers and smoothing application and admissions processes.
A new survey of more than 1,000 parents of students aged 17 or younger found that technology is viewed largely in a positive light, at least when it's used in schools as part of a child's education.
Have you been spending quality time with the 2018 NMC Horizon Report? Does the 2018 Horizon Report ask the right questions? An alternative way to ask this question is what types of questions could the Horizon Report address that would cause academics from outside of the edtech world to read the document?