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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

#EdTechWish: What Do We Want?

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Education Technology is such a necessity in every 21 century classroom. It is no wonder that EdTech is one of the most popular discussion topics in schools, personal & professional learning communities amongst educators. 

What triggered this post? Lindsey Lipsky, an amazing educator in my Twitter Personal Learning Network, wrote a blog post about what teachers hope EdTech would do in 2015. She makes a point that teachers and the makers of EdTech should communicate somehow to make better products to be used by teachers and students. You can read her blog post here: http://lindseylipsky.weebly.com/blog/-edtech2015-what-do-you-wish-for-in...

Her post triggered a chat and a general discussion on twitter which you can follow using #EdTechWish with many teachers sharing what they wish for EdTech. 

A few years ago I started dabbling in the world of EdTech and Edtech startups. As a result I had the opportunity to see both perspective. In Edtech there are usually two sides:

The User & the Maker

But what happens if the user was also the maker? What happens if teachers or students (users) had a helping hand in the making of EdTech?

I started to find out by building my own EdTech as a teacher with a great design studio. I learned a few things from the process as a result. Here are some of the things that I wish all EdTech would do:

  • Pedagogy: EdTech should help move pedagogy forward. In other words, while most edtech is great because it helps make life easier, and get things done faster, the main *Driving* purpose of EdTech should be to improve the teacher's pedagogy in the classroom. 
  • Autonomy: edtech should allow the user to gain full control of it. This can mean many things, but the most important one is that it should not hinder the user (be it the teacher or the student) throughout the learning process. 
  • Experience: The overall experience of *using* the edtech is very important. Use should be simple, seamless and intuitive. 
  • Learning process/Outcomes: Edtech should support student's learning process and help them meet learning outcomes through its use. 

These discussions are important to have because EdTech is essential to our students' learning. Please share what your #EdTechWish with us either in the comments here or on Twitter.

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (17) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

bks's picture

I think you are both brilliant educators. I applaud the idea of the students devising their own apps and strategies, ownership, relevance all has to lead to engagement. Am on a mission this school year with to senior students to prod this very thing. Another passion is to encourage the most (paper) disorganised students to adopt a method which works for them and does not cause extra effort. In Australia we seem to have more student protections and privacy issues so I must work this as well. Is great to meet you both, I look forward to a long conversation. Thank you.

LindseyLipsky's picture
Learning/Behavior Specialist, Special Educator

Dear bks,
Thank you so much for your kind words, it means so much for us to have you in our network of amazing innovative educational leaders. Would love to hear more about your work with students, especially in how you are helping adopt new methods for more open network protections and student creation of technology.

We have found even here in the U.S. that many school networks have high protections which do not allow teachers to use tech to the fullest. One of the many #EdTechWish responses we've seen by educators is to have a more open network without filters and more easily accessible and adaptable wifi with the bandwidth to allow multiple technologies in the classroom (such as BYOT/BYOD!) It's a wonderful discussion and one we are so excited to be having with educators like you.

Thank you so much for participating in #EdTechWish!

Rusul Alrubail's picture
Rusul Alrubail
Writer on education, teaching and learning. Chief Education Officer at The Writing Project

bks, thank you so much for your comment! I totally agree with you ownership definitely leads to a higher level of engagement because students will be in control of their own learning. I also understand what you mean when you say it's important for students to adopt a method that they feel comfortable with. This strategy will help prevent tech from being a hinderance to their performance and ability to complete the desired task.

I agree with Lindsey in hoping that the future of edtech would be to unlock the many filters that are there in schools/districts and make edtech more accessible to teachers and students.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Rusul and others,
Great discussion here. I just wanted to ad an example of what I think you're talking about, Rusul, and how powerful it can be. The iPad App, Explain Everything, was made by Reshan Richards, a teacher. Perhaps not surprisingly, that is on e of the iPad Apps that everyone seems to like - at least, every teachers I know has said, 'I can make use of that!' Goes to show the power of the conversations that #EdTechWish promotes!

Tonianne's picture

Hi Rusul and others,

I really enjoyed your article as recently I have built my own ed tech tool out of frustration that a lot of education technology merely occupies the students but does not enhance the ability for teachers to plan and give students appropriate challenge with immediate results. As a primary teacher I am looking for programs that enhance my ability to plan for the individual. My edtech wish is that apps and programs don't become a replacement for the old worksheet problem and that tools are developed that support teachers ability to plan effectively.

Grant Lichtman's picture
Grant Lichtman
Author, speaker, facilitator, "Chief Provocateur"

To be brutally honest, what I want is for us to get to the point where we stop using the word and concept of Ed-tech, where we stop seeing some teachers as Ed-tech teachers and others as somehow not. Technology is an element of learning; why do we continue to separate it out? Because it has a history of mystery (hey, great word combo there!)? Let's get over it! "Technology" should be no more a mystery for teachers today than modern science was to teachers 150 years ago. And I think the best way to get beyond this mystery or duality is for educators to stop treating tech as something different or apart from the rest of learning.

LindseyLipsky's picture
Learning/Behavior Specialist, Special Educator

Hi Grant,

Yes, I agree with what you are saying! We really need to start just thinking of EdTech as teaching since teaching should be so fundamentally ingrained in our educational work and classroom. Very good thought. Thank you for sharing!

LindseyLipsky's picture
Learning/Behavior Specialist, Special Educator

Hi Keith,

Yes- isn't that amazing? Usually when the educator becomes involved in the planning/process/development stage amazing things can happen with tech. I did not know that Explain Everything was made by a teacher. Brilliant! Please help us keep the #EdTechWish conversation going!! There is SO much we as teachers have to share with tech innovation/integration ideas.



LindseyLipsky's picture
Learning/Behavior Specialist, Special Educator

Hi Tonianne,

I 100% agree. I hope apps/programs don't become the "worksheet" of tomorrow. Tech is a tool, not a replacement for good teaching!

I love hearing about EdTech designed by teachers. What is the name of your tool that you created? Would love to check it out!

Thanks for the comments on here. Please help us keep the #EdTechWish conversation alive!



Tonianne's picture

Hi Lindsey,
I have designed an online Spelling Assessment Tool which assesses students spelling ability developmentally and gives teachers a detailed report about their spelling progress. Teachers can then plan effective lessons according to each students ability and needs. It is a tool for the teachers to use in order to plan effective, appropriate challenge for each individual. The website is www.mindendeavours.com. Let me know if you would like more info!!


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