Drivers For Investing in Technology

If we take ‘it engages the students’ out of the mix. What are the reasons for investing time, money into technology applications and environments? Have you had some great examples where it’s made a difference or have you seen it used in low level ways too often? Your thoughts?

The TRIBE has spoken: How does this sit with you?

  1. Provides a ‘conduit’ or ‘vehicle’ to engage with wider cultural
    experiences
  2. To prepare for ‘being happy’ and ‘making a living’ (future proofing?)
  3. Provide equity of access to valued knowledge and experience
  4. Provide tools for wider collaboration and co-construction of new
    knowledge
  5. As a cognitive amplifier
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29 thoughts on “Drivers For Investing in Technology

  1. If you take the “it helps you see better” out of the concept of electrical lighting, what are the reasons to spend the money on installing electricity in your home?
    It is not about the technology gadgets, its about the access that the gadgets give you to a global connectivity that did not previously exist.
    So to point out the obvious, it is not about the electricity but the access to the world that electricity provides.
    If we stop thinking about technology in terms of just the gadgets (which with a little patience and ingenuity do not have to cost that much) the debate over the validity of technology in the classroom becomes as preposterous as debating whether to install electricity in every school

      • Totally, With technology, I can provide experiences that could never fit the normal school budget. For about $1500, I can take 1 student to the Vatican to study the the finer points of the Sistine Chapel for a week. With the help of technology, for $400, I can take 300 students to the same place and do virtually the same (if not better) project. Come along and let me show you how you can Davinci Code the Sistine Chapel to propel a student to spend a week investigating, wondering, discussion, collaborating…
        ….http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

      • Great comment and awesome link. You’re suggesting there is a business-logic in investing in technology because ‘it’ provides an agile learning environment that is agile, flexible and ‘amplifies’ powerful pedagogy…have I gone too far in my analysis?

      • Agree 100%.
        The challenge for an education system whose average work force age is nearing the 50yo mark, is to value technology enough to provide learning and training opportunities for its teachers so they can embrace the future with confidence.

      • Thanks Chris- I think you’re right. Investment in technology isn’t just an investment in ‘tools’ is it? It’s an investment in the professional learning needed to use the tools/ environments to achieve educational outcomes…is that what you’re saying?

  2. Anything that ‘engages the students’ is potentially useful for teachers, as engaged students often lead to deeper learning experiences. However, there are far more important reasons for schools and education in general to be ‘investing’ in technology. Both the rate of development of technologies, as well as the influence it has on our lives, is increasing almost exponentially. This makes it imperative that today’s students are given the opportunity to experience and learn with the sorts of applications and within the sorts of environments that they will encounter in the future. i.e. Those where technology is an integral part of their daily lives.

    • Thanks, so providing students with opportunities to learn through technology (ies) will better prepare them for the future (work and social) ? Just clarifying.

      • Yes, that’s what I meant in a far more coherent statement – sorry to be convoluted!! 🙂

      • I think that teaching them how to ‘engage’ and be critcal thinkers about technologies is important. We will never keep up with the latest without massive changes in funding to schools and we are all consantly challenged by the choices technology brings!

      • Even in early childhood education, educators are talking about how digital technologies are already an integral part of many children’s daily lives, so we need to be able to guide children’s understanding and use ot them. And of course, in ECE there is the strong philosophy of providing a learning foundation for all – for “have’s” and “have not’s” including digital technologies.

      • So Helen, are you saying that one of the drivers for schools pursuing a digital agenda is about pursuing equity of access to tools and knowledge?

      • Yes, equity of access – I like that you’ve said knowledge as well as tools. After all that’s what the tools are for.

  3. I think that technology has the ability to offer the student a fruit salad of different experiences which will broaden the palate and excite the creative juices to want to go further and discover more.

    • So, a range of tools and experiences involving technology, a’fruit salad’ with a focus on creative pursuit and self directed learning…? Is that close to what you’re thinking Fab?

  4. Nobody would argue that computers (including mobile devices etc) can be cognitive amplifiers (to use a cheesy phrase), act as powerful networking tools etc. etc. But it takes a lot of intellectual effort from the users to gain any educational leverage from their use. My view is that often users are doing the electronic equivalent of hanging around the streets shooting the breeze, rather than going to the library to engage in intellectual debate.

      • Andrew emailed this

        HI Mark,
        Been on leave. Didn’t respond to your question regarding cognitive amplifiers; couldn’t find that conversation again.. so here are a couple of ideas I’ve thrown together;
        The virtual world aspect of digital media that can stimulate emotions and provide a learning experience in a problem solving way.
        Excel etc. can manage information in an efficient way doing two things (at least): freeing the student to concentrate on thinking about other stuff while acting like extra memory for them; allowing easy manipulation of data providing multiple representations in a time effective way.
        Access to information is near at hand and opinions of others can be gathered quickly and reflected upon at leisure.
        Technology can minimise distractions or be a distraction in itself, it’s how it’s managed that makes the difference as we know. Like taking steroids, it only improves your performance if you do the work as well.
        Could rave on a bit about this but I’m ploughing through email at the minute
        Cheers,
        Andrew.

    • collaboration, communication and co-construction of understandings can be clearly facilitated by technologies, i reckon much of the shooting the breeze happens when direction, purpose and authentic learning experiences are not scaffolded well or indeed lacking!.

      • I like the thinking there Max- are you suggesting that that we need to be more ‘open’ (for want of a better word) to the unexpected outcomes that may present? Maybe we are spending too much time looking for the wrong things in the wrong places?

  5. “technology without pedagogy may often lead to tragedy”……In the last 6 months working very closely with a small number of schools in a pilot programme, after first enrolling principals around embedding ICT within school culture, I see major shifts in teaching and learning with and thru ICT. Pilot programme focus has been squarely on ICT-based pedagogy.I believe we need to focus more on students learning with technology as opposed to (traditional paradigms of) teachers teaching with technology.

    • Thanks Max, so what did the pilot ‘enrolling principlas around embedding ICT’ involve ie. what did they do differently as a result of participation?

  6. principals had to commit to this 2 year project in 3 ways:
    1. financially. a user pays model. 2. in working with myself and their school leaders to create a “vehicle for change” – a schoolwide strategy for embedding ICT into teaching and learning; at no stage were we or will we have this pilot as an extra, or a bolt on to what teachers already do; and 3. meet with me at least 3 times per year to review progress and discuss where to next, as well as attend at least 3 days of the face to face presentations in the project.
    This has led to principals driving a school wide approach to supporting the learning and new practices of their participating teachers. It has brought about significant cultural change in almost all of the participating schools in a time frame of 7 months; most of the evidences of this are in the classroom. Without Principals on board this would not have occurred.

    • You’re absolutely right about the significant role the leader makes in terms of purposeful, strategic and, yes, creative work with technology. Sounds like a really powerful model of capacity building and therefore sustainable change.

  7. Technology can bring the different ideas and cultures of the world into a country town environment where there are minimal differences in the population

    • Thanks Sue…or should I say ‘Bon!?’ Technology as delivery ‘vehicle’ to not only see, but to interact with wider social and cultural groups?

  8. I am happy to spend extra time learning how to use new technology but I have found it to be a huge challenge to get teachers who are scared of or for whatever reason do not embrace technology to understand that the time which they invest in doing this makes up for itself ten fold in the classroom.

    • I wonder if this is about ‘technology’ or are staff like this ‘reluctant up-takers’ of new approaches generally? What do people think?

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