Category Archives: Worth the Hype or Not?

School leaders in EDAD 342 –Technology in Leading and Managing Jan Term 2014 at the St. Mary’s College Kalmanovits School of Education to reflect on the essential question. “Is Educational Technology worth the hype…or not?”

Worth the Hype or Not?

Is Technology Worth the Hype or Not?

The logical answer to this question is yes! Technology in education can help and engage students in new and more interesting ways. It is also fair to mention that even though technology is an asset to education, it can also create other concerns about the raising of young scholars. Technology is everywhere at the touch of our finger tips. Weather we like it or not, technology is not going anywhere and we just have to keep up with it.

Technology is evolving by the minute, and we are in urgent need to readjust our education system which unfortunately is behind the times. Educational infrastructure and curriculum must be updated to address the needs our students will face as they leave our classrooms. It is our duty to prepare students for the world of technology and to be successful in their academic endeavors.

After reviewing blogs, researching technological resources, attending hangouts, I feel I gain a deeper knowledge about some of the uses of technology. I thought I was knowledgeable about technology but I have no idea how technology has evolved in the last years. I certainly believe technology has a lot to offer to students, teachers, and parents. It provides all parties involved with tools that can help each of them to be connected to the world of today.

As a word of caution, the use of technology has to be monitored closely. Students should not spend extended amounts of time in front of a device. We need to make sure they do not isolate themselves because they are extremely engaged in the use of technology. We also need to make students aware of the cyber danger when technology is misused.

The benefits a student can receive from the use of technology are endless. As technology continues to evolve, so do its uses. I think technology is like anything else in the world, it has a positive and a negative side. Since technology is an inevitable reality, it is imperative that we teach our students to use it appropriately to their educational advantage. We, as educators, have the responsibility to create a balanced environment in our classrooms where we foster the use of technology as a way to motivate students and also pay attention to the social-emotional development of our students.

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Worth the Hype of Not?

Educational Technology – Worth the Hype or Not?

by Anna E. Perales

Technology is definitely worth the hype in education!  Technology can be an amazing teaching and learning tool, but one must crawl before they can walk.  Training and exposure to new technologies is key to teaching and administrating in a 21st century school and classroom.  I am fortunate to have been born into generation and family that values technology.  Typing and basic computer skills were part of the basic technology curriculum in my elementary school, middle and high schools, however, much of what I know about technology has been learned through trial, error and “Google-ing it”.  Although this method has worked to me thus far, I am becoming increasingly aware that my students are more technologically savvy than I am and I find myself frustrated by what I do not know.   It is time to step up my game.

Trying anything new for the first time is unsettling, but I have slowly been integrating technology into my lessons for the past few weeks.  I started by taking an inventory of the technology and technology-based teaching strategies I already use in my classroom and lessons.  I use PowerPoint as an aid to my lectures, my website to share assignments, links and important deadlines, our district online gradebook, streaming videos for supplemental lesson material, our email system for communicating with other teachers, students and parents and the Remind 101 application for reminding my students of upcoming dates and important information.  I then looked at some of the projects I use in my unit plans and thought about how I could integrate technology.  An idea smacked me across the face when my students were turning in their Latin America brochure projects and commented, “Why couldn’t I have just put all this in a PowerPoint?”  The student was totally right.  The PowerPoint would have actually been better as the student could have integrated photographs, sounds, animation and videos.

Educational technology is definitely worth the hype and well worth the time spent researching and learning about new technologies to use in administrating and teaching.  We are supposed to be educating our students for the 21st century, but many teachers are stuck in their traditional ways of teaching.  Technology is a double-edged sword.  Students can wield it maliciously and teachers can find themselves in situations they did not foresee because of their general lack of understanding of new technologies.  The positives, however, outweigh the negatives as technology can open new doors to learning and teaching that were previously closed.

Worth the Hype….or Not?

Is Educational Technology Worth The Hype…Or Not?

By Heather Burns

 Today many children across the United States sit in the desks of our classrooms interacting with a textbooks or a novel, taking notes with a pencil or pen in a notebook, talking to classmates to work through a problem, raising their hand to ask you the teacher for help on a question. With very little technology integrated into what they are learning.  However, when they go home after the bell rings they are in very different world which involves screen time hurrying to finish their homework and rushing through answering their parents “how was your day?” questions so they can meet their “friend” on Minecraft, or catch a glance at what new picture, video, text, or drawing has come across Snapchat.  Students are engaged at a very different level when they are connected.  They have Smartphones are early ages and devices where they are able to download apps, and have access to the internet-where the opportunities are endless.  However, is all the technology worth the hype?  And does it belong in an educational setting?

 There are many videos which one can look up on YouTube speaking to how quickly our population is increasing in countries such as China and India, and how US students need to be trained to use technology at an early age, to not only be competitive with all of the people coming from foreign lands, but to also prepare them for jobs and opportunities that do not even exist.  Therefore, the thought is to merge technology and education and bring the devices into the classroom, which in turn, will increase student engagement by the sheer fact that a device is in front of our students.  Yet also have our educators instruct our American youth through integrating technology into their lessons.  With this idea, some think it is a winning combination. I am mostly behind this idea, however I believe it is easier said then done.

In order to become a professional you need participate in some sort of training, which is what most educators have done.  Most have gone through credentialing programs that have taught them how to create lessons mostly with textbooks and novels.  Only recently have teachers been provided any training on technology and how to integrate it into their lessons.  So if teachers were not trained in credentialing programs to integrate and utilize technology then who is training them? Once teachers are in the classroom it is up to the School District or Site Administrator to train teachers on new devices or software.  Here is where I believe we have a glitch in the thinking technology is always worth the hype.  Teachers need training to effectively integrate technology into their lessons so students are using the devices productively.  However, training teachers takes time and money.  I believe if districts and school sites are given the funding, and teachers are given the time and training needed to integrate technology properly then educational technology is defiantly worth the hype!  An increase in student engagement, and also subject knowledge is every educators dream, and defiantly worth the hype!  However, without the proper funding, training or time to develop and integrate curriculum with technology then teachers are left to self-train, and navigate on their own-which is not worth the hype.

Educational technology worth the hype…

Michael Flosi

Is Educational technology worth the hype? In this educators opinion it is; however, for technology to have an impact educators need to learn how to embrace these tools rather than hide from it.  It is hard to disagree that technology is becoming the centerpiece of the 21st century classroom. Do to the rapid embrace of technology by students at all levels, educators are at a point where they must adapt to their lessons to their students, where before students had to adapted to their teacher. Many teachers have begun to slowly incorporating various types of media, technological equipment, and technological resources to deliver instruction. Even though most educators know how to use the technology many, if not all, are still behind the curve. It seems teachers are always playing catch up and there are multiple issues that contribute to this, like the lack of user-friendly programs and proper training.

Many educators are “techno-migrants,” who have an understanding of technology; however, they do not use it for a majority of their daily task. Ideas like “tweeting”, “blogging”, and “the cloud” are relatively new concepts to educators, and many don’t know how to use it or access it.  Sure a teacher can play a video from You Tube on their digital projector in or use a document reader, but many don’t understand how to use social media, resources provided by Google, and other technology that uses data to drive instruction.

School districts need to invest time and money to give teachers the proper training with new and future technology. If district continue to give poor or no training then a major obstacle will occur if technology is to gain steam in the classroom. Teachers will not use tools or resources if they are not taught how to use it. This could be seen at my school, where the district has bought new technology like data driven programs, open educational resources, and technological hardware expecting teachers to use it on a daily bases. Teachers, especially the older ones, are becoming frustrated by the issues they encounter with technology and feel it makes their jobs harder. If the time and resources are used to train teachers properly, then more would be willing to use it in their classroom.

Once educators are properly trained, then educational technology will have larger impact in instruction. There are a wide range of activities and lessons teachers can do in their class, which includes research, educational apps, and other online and open educational resources. Ultimately, teachers will find the ease when delivering their lessons and those who once saw technology as a nuisance, will now find it as a helpful tool.

So, is Educational technology worth the hype? Of course it is, only if the teachers are given the proper training.

Technology Certainly Worth the Hype!

Worth the Hype or Not?
On technology in the classroom

To determine whether technology is worth the hype or not, one need only ask themselves what type of world they live in now and what type of world the next generation is going to live in should present trends continue. As it is, our educational system is set up in the classical model of industrial education; or to have students learn as much as they can in the standardized day. As educational leaders, it is incumbent upon us to realize that this is not how the world works; we see that changes are abound and it is our responsibility to make our schools relevant not only to the world our students will enter, but also to the learning process.

The system we have now does not work. As far back as 1934, prominent Stanford educational researcher Ellwood Cubberly described American educational as a “manufactury” where students were prepared for a life of efficiency. DuFour et. al. wrote that uniformity, standardization, and bureaucracy became characteristic of school districts in which a small number of “thinkers” decided what was to be taught in every classroom and that those “directives” would be disseminated from school boards down through the educational bureaucracy. Teachers, like factory workers, would need strict supervision to ensure they were teaching what was mandated and that the finished products (students) were correctly moving along the assembly line from subject to subject. Observing the typical American classroom now, one would find many similarities to this stark description.

What we need now is a total revolution in how we educate our current students. Fullan presented the case in Stratosphere that integration of technological tools, in concert with sound pedagogical practices, would produce the results American educational leaders desired; a closing of the achievement gap when compared to students from other industrialized nations. This type of integration has been attempted in the past by many schools across the nation. However, absent the proper pedagogical structuring, almost all attempts have been doomed to failure. No matter how effective a technological learning tool is at teaching a skill, ultimately all electronics are supplements to an effective teacher who guides the learning process. Used properly, these technological tools become enhancers of the learning process and expose students to the types of tools they will be using both in the post-secondary educational setting and the professional setting. If the goal of public education is to prepare students for success in the world they enter as young adults, then surely we can adjust how our course of preparation such that it actually sets up our students for success.

On the question of whether technology in the classroom is worth the hype or not: I believe our world is increasingly technology-centered as the mobile age expands. Should trends continue, this is the world that will exist when our students become functioning adults. Therefore, the headlines, platitudes, and added workloads of any educational technology integration is certainly worth the hype.

Technology Alone Not Worth the Hype

By Brian Cooper

No doubt more technology is coming soon to a classroom near you. But is educational technology worth the hype?  No, not if the emphasis is business as usual with a few more bells and whistles. In the current culture of technology, many of my students spend hours every day gaming in an online world of epic wins and instant feedback.  My next-door neighbor says her daughter is in constant communication with her friends through technology.  A room full of cramped desks and textbooks is a primitive place for many students, however technology alone is not an answer to our greatest challenges in education.  All stakeholders in education are tasked with reconciling our youths’ engagement with technology and their disengagement in the classroom.

In Stratosphere, author Michael Fullan makes a compelling case for the use of technology in education, but with the understanding that it must be partnered with high-quality pedagogy and change knowledge. He believes we are in a once in a century window of opportunity.  Education should instigate curiosity, collaboration and experimentation.  The use of technology can individualize learning for every student, while even a master teacher has difficulty differentiating lessons for 30 students.  Technology also provides students with real-time feedback, whereas it can easily take me a week to score and return math tests to my five classes. With the right teacher and adequate training with technology, students will have unprecedented learning opportunities.  With the right systems of implementation and access to technology, there can be a learning revolution in our schools.

Sir Ken Robinson and Tony Wagner are excellent sources of change knowledge in education.  These guys get human potential.  Let teachers assist students in four ways: (1) recognize their interests and talents, (2) encourage collaboration and creativity, (3) facilitate meaningful learning opportunities, (4) stretch students in new directions to promote deeper learning.  I agree with Wagner that knowledge is not much more than a commodity in our world.  Albert Einstein wasn’t talking about rainbows and unicorns when he said imagination is more important than knowledge.  What we do with knowledge is the juicy part.  Whether we use pencils and paper, or iPads and Internet, students must be called on to use information in creative ways that provide opportunities to solve real world problems for the benefit of their communities.   Technology alone is not worth the hype, but technology along with innovative pedagogy and applied change knowledge can transcend the hype.

Is educational technology worth the hype or not?

When I started working as a middle school math and science core teacher fifteen years ago, not many of us had computers in our classrooms, for that matter not many of us had cell phones. In fact it was a time when only 36% of American households owned a cell phone (The Wall Street Journal, 2009) and only 26% of American families had personal computers (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2001), and those that did used them for business purposes primarily.

 

Times have changed, I now work at an elementary site. And 91% of American households have cell phones (Rainie, 2013), with over 75% of Americans owning personal computers (File, 2013). As educators we have an obligation to teach children to be computer literate, to be knowledgeable and critical consumers of online information and media, as well as to prepare them to be responsible digital citizens.

 

In my mind the poignant question is not “is it worth the hype?” but rather, “why would we not want to incorporate technology into our classrooms and schools?” I do believe that technology needs to be brought into our educational institutions responsibly and consistently in order to meet the needs of the current generation and future generations.

 

How can we as educators help to facilitate these changes? Well, luckily there are many websites and blogs geared towards making the task of integrating technology easier for the administrator, educator and parent, such as Edutopia. The ongoing discussions at these websites are very useful. Some schools are integrating technology in very innovative ways utilizing SmartBoards, iPads, Chromebooks, and students computers while using Open Educatioanl Resources, as well as implementing educational programs aimed at helping students work individually at their own level in math and/or reading. Some particularly popular programs in our district are Successmaker and IXL.

 

How can we do this with the least amount of strain fiscally? The financial piece is a very real obstacle for many school districts across America that are already cash poor. At my own school the Parent Teacher Association is currently footing the bill for much of the equipment and upkeep, and a partnership between teachers and the PTA has been established to assist when technical difficulties arise. Another solution is the use of personal devices which the students bring in.

 

There may be a lot of  hype regarding technology, but it is worth the investment for the future.

 

U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. (2001). Home computers and internet use in the united states: august 2000. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/p23-207.pdf

 

Rainie, Lee. (2013). Cell phone ownership hits 91% of adults. Retrieved from: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/06/cell-phone-ownership-hits-91-of-adults/

 

The Wall Street Journal. (2009). Cellphone ownership soared since 1998. Retrieved from: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/11/27/cellphone-ownership-soared-since-1998/

 

File, Thom. (2013). Computer and internet use in the united states: population characteristics. Retrieved from: http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-569.pdf

Definitely Worth the Hype! – Michael Zozos

Technology in education is certainly worth the hype, even though many technophobes might not necessarily sing its praises.  From YouTube to Twitter, in today’s society, technology is ubiquitous and unavoidable.  It is important that we, as teachers and educators, take advantage of this unique time in history, as our students are part of a generation immersed in technology on a scale unlike any other.

From touch screens and SmartBoards, technology is at our fingertips, literally!  Internet access has never been faster which allows for streaming HD video while computers can process material at unbelievable speeds, making content information easily accessible.  Web-based programs such as Google Drive, Prezi, and Dropbox make collaboration between students easier than ever.  Shared-work between teaching colleagues using these, and other programs in the like, increases rigor in the classroom.  Unlike a “stuffy” and less than engaging textbook, Webquests, e-readers, social media sites, and instructional tools such as the Khan Academy engage students in the digital environment that they are used to and feel comfortable in.

All of these educational tools, rooted in technology, do have some drawbacks however.  For one thing, our students are adept at using newer technologies and shift from program usage seamlessly.  On the other hand, teachers generally struggle with newer technologies, especially as the speed of updates increases exponentially.  Without proper training and professional development, these tools will be lost on the older generations as they fall further and further behind the techno curve.

A second major hurdle that educators will need to overcome as we go deeper into the 21st century is the “Googlefication” of our students.  Most teenagers today are accustomed to the instant gratification that comes from using the Internet to do research, checking Wikipedia or IMDB for information about their favorite movie stars, or immediately seeing when someone “likes” their photos and posts on Facebook and Instagram.  The problem is that most students are not doing “real” research.  Typing a prompt into the Google search bar, word for word, and then clicking the first search result that pops up, is not research.  But unfortunately, our students think that it is.  The massive amount and rapid speed at which information is shared via the web, handcuffs students by inundating them with an abundance of information.  Instead of sifting through this material, our students take what is written on the Internet as gospel, instead of doing their due diligence as researchers.  In order to make the Internet an effective teaching tool, we need to teach our students techno literacy – to be Internet readers with a critical eye.

Above all else, technology, from Twitter to PowerPoint, has an effective use in education regardless of the drawbacks that some critics might cite.  The speed and access to information, and the ability of interconnected collaboration, far outweighs the challenges technology might pose.

“Is Educational technology worth the hype..or not?”

The Hype will Intensify

            Education is deep in our DNA. Technology is omnipresent, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities and our homes. With technology, some remarkable things are happening. As a Science teacher, I love to find novel ways to incorporate educational technology into my lessons and my classroom. Technology in the classroom can facilitate “increased application and production of knowledge for the real world. Very soon students will not have the option of choosing if they want to use technology or not. The real question is: How well can our students use these new technologies? Technology permeates everything we do. As California adopts the new common core curriculum, the hype will continue. I definitely believe that the integration of technology improves learning for students and helps them get closer to mastery. It allows teachers and students to augment the curriculum with current information and timely study of real world events, thus making learning more dynamic, engaging, and valuable. In Science teaching, many studies have shown that students who used simulations, computer based labs, and video to connect science instruction to real-world problems outperformed students who used traditional instructional methods. Technology is the ultimate carrot for students.

The hype will continue because technology:

  1. Saves time
  2. Saves Money
  3. Teachers spend less time grading
  4. Teachers can spend more time in class designing innovative learning opportunities
  5. Increase One-on-One time with students
  6. Facilitates group work that works
  7. Communicates more effectively with all students
  8. Helps build community and relationship
  9. Makes teaching and learning more meaningful and fun
  10. Increases student motivation
  11. Reduces behavioral problem in the classroom
  12. Enhances the relationship between student and teacher

            By using technology, students are actively making choices how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than in typical teacher-led lessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions and evaluating their progress. It offers educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means.

            Teachers in today’s classrooms are experiencing students who are very tech savvy. Most of these students have grown up with technology and often are more proficient in its use than their teacher is. They also have no understanding of why technology would not be used in the classroom. Their parents believe that technology provides a way to enrich their children’s social lives and academic abilities. Because I believe this hype will continue, teachers must prepare for a technology-rich future and keep up with change by adopting effective strategies that infuse lessons with appropriate technologies. Educational technology is worth the hype as more teachers become the champions of Technology.

 

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Is Educational Technology Worth the Hype? by Joy Inouye

            Technology affects almost every aspect of our culture. We live in a society that requires students to be proficient in multiple uses of technology in an effort to be both college and career ready.  Post graduation, it is certain that whatever the job is, the use of technology will be required.  As educators, we must then use technology in a way that enhances education.

            The simple fact of the matter is that the role of both student and teacher is ever changing in this digital age.  When students are using technology as a tool or a support for communicating with others, they are in an active role rather than the passive role of recipient of information transmitted by a teacher or textbook.  The student is actively making choices about how to generate, obtain, manipulate, or display information. Technology use allows students to be actively thinking about information, making choices, and executing skills than is typical in teacher-led lessons. Moreover, when technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, the students are in the position of defining their goals, making design decisions, and evaluating their progress, taking a more active approach to their own education.  Such projects can also provide students with choice, a powerful tool that increases student motivation.  When students are conducting research on authentic projects that they are interested in, student motivation and engagement will likely increase.  When students are engaged, they learn more.

            The teacher’s role changes as well. The classroom teacher is no longer the sage on the stage as the dispenser of information, but rather plays the role of facilitator, setting project goals and providing guidelines and resources, moving from student to student or group to group, providing suggestions and support for student activity. As students work on their technology-supported products, the teacher rotates through the room, looking over shoulders, asking about the reasons for various design choices, and suggesting resources that might be used.  The teacher serves as a coach in this setting.  He/she provides support through individualized mini lessons in areas of weakness that is observed through student-teacher interaction.

            Technology has definitely become a major influence in how people live. However, I do not believe that in the future, computers will take the place of teachers.  I see the use of technology as a resource that can enhance the lessons taught within our classrooms.