George Lucas Educational Foundation

Technology-Enhanced Learning: Between Pedagogical Priority and Technological Concern

Technology-Enhanced Learning: Between Pedagogical Priority and Technological Concern

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Dear educators,

I am currently working in a small project to assist a school enhancing their current practice in technology-enhanced learning (TEL). While doing some surveys, I found an interesting issue which I really appreciate to hear opinions from the educational community about it.

In this school and I assume many other schools around the country, teachers have the freedom to choose which device, hardware, software, learning environment system etc they want to use in supporting their teaching and the students' learning. This is good because it removes limitation for the teachers to be creative, and simply use the technology they are familiar and comfortable with. This freedom puts pedagogical needs at the higher priority as it should be in designing and implementing TEL.

But at the same time, it gives headache to the technological team to provide infrastructure that is compatible with all different types of hardware and software.

I saw around the interactive whiteboard, there are so many cables and adapters especially for wireless streaming display. To sort this thing out, it takes time and such fussiness jeopardise the purpose of TEL itself. I assume some teachers might choose not to use the facilities they have, to save time.

How to balance between these two concerns?

Do you have similar experience?

Should school limits the technology into single 'package' or single 'brand' of product?

What do you think?

Your opinion is very much appreciated.

Slavin (2008) stated that:

"Throughout the history of education, the adoption of instructional programs and practices has been driven more by ideology, faddism, politics, and marketing than by evidence."(p. 5)

Thank you. 


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Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Hi, Hasrizal. I'm a teacher, not an Technology Coordinator or anyone with responsibility for infrastructure in my school, but I'll share my thoughts.

In my experience, most schools rely on standardization for precisely the reasons you mention. There will always be people who, by virtue of personal preference and/or expertise, will introduce their own devices into the mix. Doing so is usually harmless but can sometimes negatively impact infrastructure and service quality for the rest of the campus. That's clearly bad news for everyone. Finally, anyone who brings their own gear into a school knows they're on their own for tech troubleshooting.

Teachers should not have to worry about technology. (HA! In our DREAMS...) It just needs to work. Reliably, consistently, without fuss or fanfare. Every moment tweaking a device is one less moment that can be spent on instruction. Schools know this. Most I know work hard to provide the best environment (hardware / software / support) they can. It's hard. And it's expensive.

Standardization (perhaps with minor exceptions) is really the only way to go.

Hope this helps.

-kj-

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Standardization is certainly a lot easier, but there are plenty of good bring your own device (BYOD) schools which manage to handle a huge variety of tools, so it's not impossible.

The question I always come back to is "What do we want teaching and learning to look like?" Do most of the teachers like the scattershot approach, or are they feeling stressed out by having so many options? Has your school had a conversation about the kind of pedagogy it wants to offer students, and if it's providing the right tools to meet those needs? There are legitimately good reasons for standardizing around 1 or two devices, but even choosing that device is a choice between which set of compromises you're willing to make on the technology front, and you should choose the devices that best matches the kind of teaching and learning that the community wants to happen. At the same time, there are legitimately good reasons to have a BYOD approach, some of which you've already outlined.

Hasrizal's picture
Hasrizal
A School Teacher and a Lifelong Learner

Thank you Kevin Jarrett and Dan Callahan for your kind response. I am looking into many keywords you included. Even though standardisation seems very convincing as how the solution should be, Dan's point of view must also be taken into a serious consideration. I am very new to this subject.

I believe a clear pedagogical and technological scripts when designing a technology-enhanced learning is very important. From there, we will see what are the actual outcomes we want to achieve, with clear idea on the learning theory and model, the approach to deliver, and which technology fits best.

I want to study more on this and hopefully more responses will arrive from educators in the community.

Thank you again.

Hasrizal

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