Todays world is critical of everything. Any alignment you have on an issue is critically examined and often ridiculed by those who are not in agreement. This harsh attitude toward others is not without cause. Education is one of the most critically analyzed systems in the world today. How we spend money, how these dollars reflect test scores, and how these scores relate to the world are questions that are often the first to be asked. This post will highlight my thoughts on the issue of technology spending in schools. 

In the recent news we have seen a critical attack on how money is being spent on technology in education. Authors are calling them hoax's, and a waste of money. See for yourself here:
These articles have some validity, but the cause of this is not on the dollars. The cause is not even on the kids. The cause of this attitude is based on the system of education. The system that we work in daily is broken and desperately needs an update! Below I will highlight some causes and possible solutions to these issues:

Tools Fix Issues
There are very few districts who are still purchasing devices to help bridge achievement gaps or create solutions to "STEM" learning, but there are still clear examples of schools choosing tools to solve issues. There are countless learning tools out there that claim to "differentiate instructions" and "customize learning" for all students. The fact is, this is not an answer. Regardless of what these tools claim to do, they alone cannot bridge gaps. We see schools lean far to heavy on them causing new gaps to arise. 
  • Solution - Balance your teaching. This issue should not be disclaiming some of the tools that are out there, it is disclaiming the structure in which they are delivered. Use tools like this with care and caution. Plopping kids in front on IXL, or moby max may not be what they need at that moment.

Classroom Environment
Teachers today are stuck in the model that they have to stand in front of all students and deliver the learning in this method. The premise is that if they are not managing all students all the time, they are not learning. The fact of the matter is, when you deliver a one size fits all lesson, you could be reaching all students, or you could be reaching 3. Delivering a 60 minute lesson that only 3 students are ready to learn about is unacceptable.
  • Solution - STOP STANDING IN FRONT AND TEACHING! Break your class into small groups. Run them through centers based on their academic readiness. Check in with them often using formative assessments. Deliver learning that is appropriate for ALL students rather than a section.

We are not Leveraging Technology
I sat down with a group of teachers this summer and asked them what they thought leveraging technology for learning was. The first response is got was "I use the SMART board for every lesson so I am a good technology integrating teacher". I almost passed out! 
  • Solution - Leveraging technology means that you are delivering content at the students' level, in a device to student ratio that is minimal. The SMART board is a 1 device to 25+ student tool where as iPads and Chromebooks can be a 1 device to 1 student ratio. Delivering content also does not mean digitizing the textbooks we see today. Create mobile learning environments that allow for interaction, conversation, and explanations of learning in their own format. 

To conclude, I do think that money is still wasted on technology but it is not due to spending the money in the wrong spot. Money NEEDS to be invested in technology. This is the world that students have at home and will continue change and grow to make our world all the more connected. The wasting of money comes from the teaching standpoint within technology. Teachers are not leveraging these tools to truly deliver instruction as it could be. They are choosing to repeat what has been done in the past, vs changing for the future. 

Are you doing things today because you did it yesterday? Or because you truly believe it is what's best?

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