Secrets to Successful EdTech Rollouts (as I see it)

Friend and technology consultant, Lucy Gray, recently shared this New York Times article. As she points out, it seems fairly one-sided and only outlines pieces of Idaho's technology plans; and this is one of a growing number of anti-education technology news articles appearing of late.

I agree that there are a lot of negative, one-sided stories regarding technology in schools, but also think that there was one good point in this article (though made passively and should have been in higher emphasis). As you may have seen, many teachers are scared of technology because they don't know what it could do, have seen poor (or no) modeling, or don't know how to do what they have seen. An EdTech rollout, no matter how powerful the devices and programs, will only be as effective as each individual teachers' implementation. Simply throwing devices into a classroom and putting "technology integration" as a checkbox on evaluation forms will result in - at best - mixed results. Teachers need support that speaks to their different levels of technology expertise. PD needs to reflect best practices we use for our own students - it must be differentiated, time-efficient and hands-on.

Furthermore, it shouldn't cease after an initial "here's what's in the box and here's how you can use it" session. It should continue and evolve as teacher needs change, familiarity increases and confidence waxes and wanes. I believe that much of the success seen in Chicago's iPad program is due to the supportive and responsive nature of the monthly PD embedded in its pilot - before and during the integration of these devices. Perhaps teachers like Ms. Rosenbaum (cited in the article) would start spending their evenings creating ePubs instead of writing protest letters if they had better modeling, training and access to quality digital content.

Additionally - and I don't know for sure if this is the case in Idaho - I have seen schools that try and integrate technology for technology's sake. This is what gives EdTech a bad rap. It isn't enough to have devices in the classroom; teaching and learning should be redefined with the power of the devices in mind. I hope educators who are transforming education with technology can continue to promote and publicize these best practices to show what a teched-out classroom can really do. 
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