Technology in Education: How Will it Change the Game?

In March 2012, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expressed his conviction that “technology is a game-changer in the field of education.” One year ago President Obama put out a call for “investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game.”

What are the sorts of promising innovations living up to this challenge? How are they accelerating the quality of and access to education? Is gaming an effective tool? What are the challenges in adapting these technologies in everyday practice? And how can we trust that they will deliver on the promises? Are there compelling opportunities for entrepreneurs? The Churchill Club assembled a diverse set of thought leaders to offer unique perspectives on these questions and explore big changes looming over the horizon.

Speakers:
Linda Burch, Chief Education & Strategy Officer, Common Sense Media
Ben Chun, Educator, Galileo Academy of Science & Technology
Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education, Microsoft
Lucien Vattel, Owner, Chizuru Games & Executive Director, GameDesk
Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Associate Professor of Computer Science, UC Santa Cruz & Co-director, Expressive Intelligence Studio
Moderator: Tony Wan, Associate Editor, EdSurge

Digital Nation: Distracted by Everything

PBS recently aired a Frontline episode called “Digital Nation,” about how technology is transforming our country and our global culture…. and completely distracting us. The fourth section of the program is particularly applicable for those who teach children today.

Have you personally found that as your use of technology has increased, you are more easily distracted? These are certainly timely issues to consider, especially as technology isn’t going away.

Effective Implementation of Instructional Technology

The development of an online format of volunteer training presents a variety of challenges worth considering. Learning takes place at different levels based on the commitment level and mode of accountability for volunteers (Rogers, 2000). The reality is that most volunteers are only looking for surface learning opportunities when, “the student simply puts in the minimal effort” (Rogers, 2000). A paradigm shift from teaching to learning is necessary in the volunteer training strategy of Christian Life Fellowship church in order for technology integration to take place.

Rogers states, “effective use of technology in the classroom will require a paradigm shift from ‘teaching’ to ‘learning,’ which will require adequate training in technology and learning styles, as well as adequate technical support” (Rogers, 2000). She presents the need for philosophical change of instructional opportunities before innovative technological strategies will be successful. At present, the volunteers who do take advantage of the offered monthly training sessions do so with the simple expectation of receiving information, rather than being part of any collaborative learning experience. The shift in thinking needs to take place from simply a desire to be “taught” to a emphasis on learning together how to be a more effective teacher.

Rogers (2000) examines these issues involved in application within higher education settings. She notes that technology can only be as effective as its implementation within instruction. Beyond implementation, teachers utilizing technology within any educational setting must receive the proper training on the execution of the training within the technology-rich environment.

Rogers (2000) identifies three levels of technology adoption: personal productivity aids, enrichment add-ins, and paradigm shift. Within the volunteer development context where I am seeking to enhance the quality and methodology for training I recognize that enhancements must begin with the paradigm shift that Rogers identifies. Since change of this sort requires active leadership at the highest level (Rogers, 2000) I am putting forth the effort to develop well-planned instructional strategies which should will hopefully foster a new viewpoint on volunteer training; a mindset of life-long learning.

References:

Rogers, D. L. (2000). A paradigm shift: Technology integration for higher education in the new millennium. Educational Technology Review, 1(13), 19-33.