Project RED III and AdvancEd’s education technology research are in sync. RED III shows that infidelity to a high quality education technology implementation will result in failure of program and reaching desired goals (www.projectred.org/pr-briefs). AdvancEd’s “The Paradox of Classroom Technology: Despite Proliferation and Access, Students Not Using Technology for Learning” (2016, van Broekhuizen) http://bit.ly/2rScaSx reports that “Learners’ use of digital tools and other technology to support their learning in our K-12 systems continues to be sporadic and often not observed despite the proliferation of use outside of school. Based on an analysis of three years of direct classroom observations in K-12 schools across 39 states and 11 countries, AdvancED found there are still relatively few classrooms in which the use of digital tools and technology is a regular part of a student’s school experience. In more than half (52.7%) of classrooms, direct observations show no evidence students are using technology to gather, evaluate, or use information for learning; two-thirds of classrooms show no evidence of students using technology to solve problems, conduct research, or to work collaboratively.
The intersection of these reports lies in the evidence that organizations (schools/districts) must be mindful of each of the key elements required for successful implementations. AdvancEd’s findings point directly to the lack of support, training, professional learning for teachers in implementing the technologies. Project RED, early on, identified professional learning as a key requirement for successfully transforming schools to a digital ecosystem. Simply having the technologies in the hands of teachers and learners means nothing unless they are being guided to shifting practice in teaching and learning. Any adult trying to ‘change’ habits of mind and craft must go through numerous cognitive and behavioral shifts to retool to a learner-centric, personalized system of education. Following that is the actual practice, job-embedded, upon which there is deep reflection and collaboration with peers.
Learners may come to the education table with vast experience using tech tools. However, understanding and using technology for learning and achievement is much more complex than turning on a device, performing searches, creating presentations, etc. Core standards and learning goals need to be powered up by technology in meaningful, focused ways, in order to make the transition from a traditional learning environment. Teachers are important to facilitating learners’ abilities to develop creativity, problem-solve, collaborate and realize real life situations and solutions with technologies.
The idea is to begin educators’ professional growth process in preservice and before the deployment of robust education technology programs. Training on the functionality and power of the devices to be used is important. Once that know-how is attained it is important to ‘use’ that knowledge and then explore ways of deepening the learning and teaching experiences to reach meaningful, focused levels of tech integration.
We at One-to-One Institute have long witnessed the professional learning gaps in schools’/district’s 1 to 1 programs. AdvancEd’s research is helpful in underscoring this issue in the hope of all of us being more mindful and better practitioners in incorporating high quality, robust, early onset professional development for robust ed tech implementations.
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