IT in Education – It’s Not All Good

Diane Ravitch has been a powerful voice in education in the US over the last few years, so i was interested to read her perspective on the risks and ills associated with the rapid inroads being made by IT in to all aspects of education.

In this article she shares three ways in which the technology infiltration is not positive or in the best interest of high quality education:

Scientific American – Diane Ravitch

Of the three negatives she highlights I don’t really have enough experience of virtual charter schools to comment. However, I am in complete agreement and share her fears about the second issue – computerized marking. I first became aware of Pearson’s moves in this area with EDEXCEL when I was in Bangladesh 6-7 years ago. One of my first fears was that the tests/ assessments themselves would get adjusted to fit with the capabilities of the programs, rather than IT adding real value to enhance the existing process.

I am also reminded of a not dissimilar situation that caused me concerns. I once sat through a number of meetings where fellow educators were advocating the appointment of junior teachers whose major responsibility would have been to do the marking for more senior teachers, thereby freeing them up to spend more time lecturing students! my biggest concern was that this over-emphasized assessment as testing, ignoring its formative role. In my view a piece of work isn’t marked just to determine how much was right and wrong. Equally important is the understanding of the teacher from the perspective of both the individual student and the class collectively – in what ways did they make mistakes, what types of errors were made, what can be deduced about their knowledge and what must be done to meet their need. The same problem arises with computerized marking. Thew teacher loses the connect with the nature of where students are in their learning and therefore will fail to respond sensitively in adjusting delivery to meet their needs.

Ravitch’s third concern is the ‘Big Brother’ fear which always arises with most new technology developments. With healthy skepticism and the right checks and balances this one can be addressed satisfactorily.

To me, the most important message coming out of the article is the need to be extremely wary of attempts to turn assessment over to technology. Whilst it continues to play such an important part in our children’s education i believe it must stay in the hands of real teachers.

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World Education Summit 2013, New Delhi

Shortly before my trip to England and move from India to U.A.E. I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the World Education Summit, 2013 in New Delhi. The panel was on ‘Blended learning’ giving opportunities to explore the ways in which IT can be harnessed to personalise education for each child in a modern school and classroom setting.

In the video below there’s plenty of interest throughout. My contribution starts at 59:45. It focuses inevitably on the work i had been doing for the previous 8 months with Kunskapsskolan, Gurgaon where we brought a very refreshing and innovative education model in to India for the first time.

Integrating Technology in the Class

Here’s a very nice piece from Edutopia outlining a simple two-stage process to getting effective use out of IT and technology in the classroom:

Edutopia – Technology Integration

IT Changing the Face of Learning

As time goes on, it’s fascinating and exciting to see how IT ideas are reshaping the classroom of the Twenty First century and the process of how learning happens.

The Innovative Educator

A couple of years ago, I attended a conference in Mumbai where a speaker’s presentation was broken up with a number of questions to the audience. The audience members each had a keypad and could select their answers on the pad. Soon after pressing the button (like ‘Ask the audience’ on KBC) graphs would appear on the screen to show how the audience had voted. The levels of attentiveness of the audience were certainly far higher than you see at most conferences! No surreptitious texting, even in the back row!

So, keen that we explore how this kind of technology might best be put to work in school – looks like fun!

The Best of Web 2.0

A nice article pulling together the thoughts and expertise of three ed tech experts choosing their favourite Web 2.0 technologies for enabling collaboration and learning:

The Journal Article
(Click on the link to read the article)

Web 2.0 and the Power of Crowds

Here’s a really fun and interesting article that explores how use of Web 2.0 and social networking technologies may see us all playing a collective role in solving some of the world’s great challenges.

Yet another reason why Web 2.0 technologies should be a vital part of daily learning for our children:

Paulina Street Journal Article

(Click on link to open article)

Changing Schooling Approach for Digital Natives

‘iGeneration Article

Here’s an interesting article on another book that points the way for how the approaches to facilitating learning in schools needs to change dramatically to reflect the different lifestyles and experiences of today’s young people.

Without such changes the gulf of relevance can only expand.

However, educators of courage can create truly innovative solutions that will see young people growing, fulfilling their potential, learning in ways that are relevant to their future lives and emerging from schools as well equipped as they can be for their futures.