“While it used to be that edtech meant cool devices, digital content, and collaboration tools mimicking the consumer space, the industry is moving into the next phase of learning—personalization. The ability to correct learning gaps on an individual level allows teachers to be more far more effective in driving the kind of improved learning outcomes that attracted them to the profession.”
Taken from Edtech’s Next Phase, an interview with Crystal Hutter, CEO of Edmodo
I dearly hope this isn’t truly the next step of edtech, because if it is, we are moving backwards and concentrating on doing old things in new containers instead of using technology in new ways to expand our vision of what education can be.
Edtech comes in many flavours and should open classrooms to new possibilities. Those possibilities are meant to allow us to do new things and connect with people we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do with out it. Edtech should give us access to people on the other side of the globe. It should give us art and robotics and allow us to tinker and build and make new things. These are new possibilities for classrooms. Edtech should let us build new content and access information in forms we can’t have without it.
I can’t speak for others, but managing these type of small skills and outcomes is not what “attracted (me) to the profession” as Ms. Hutter says. These skills are part of what we do and are part of what we are responsible for as teachers with our students. But I didn’t get into education for that reason. I got into education because I was interested in kids, in maybe inspiring a few of them to see the world in a new light and from a new perspective. I got into education because I hoped to play a small role in building a better world and to help kids see themselves as valuable, curious and creative individuals. I got into education because kids and their learning matters to the kind of world that we live in.
Outcomes, data and accountability are important and part of the world we live in. I don’t have an issue with this. But if edtech is reduced to simply allowing us to know which student has trouble with finding inferences in a text (for example), we are working with a very small vision of what school’s can be.