|
EdTech & Design, Opinion, Policy, Promising Practices

Shift This

Lately there is a whole lot of shift going on...

Brad Ovenell-Carter opened the first session I attended at EdCamp Delta on the weekend by explaining how he’s working in his school to shift the control of technology from the top-down to the bottom-up. I’ll deal with the idea first and the way we often frame the idea (and the way Brad did here) second.

Brad Ovenell-Carter opened the first session I attended at EdCamp Delta on the weekend by explaining how he’s working in his school to shift the control of technology from the top-down to the bottom-up. I’ll deal with the idea first and the way we often frame the idea (and the way Brad did here) second.

The idea that learners should be driving the use of technology in schools is gaining popularity with boards of education when they go to create the budget and with district and school administrators when organizing infrastructure in their schools.

Finally.

what_if_letters

If we start with what learners need to go deeper with their learning, we’re on the right path when allocating resources. This is different than asking what technology to buy. More technology does not necessarily equal better learning. Assuming a learner’s basic needs of safety are met, more teacher collaboration, assessment for learning, inquiry, self-regulation skills, and just-in-time teaching equal better learning. The question, then, is what technology can help us better engage in these practices? (And by technology I do not mean product or device.) This question points to a shift in who needs control over the technology we use: the IT person at the board office or teachers and learners?

Now, onto these teachers and learners: why are they always at the bottom when we talk about this shift from top-down to bottom-up? I understand that the image is a clichéd one, one we might grab for convenience and without thinking. So let’s stop to think now.

If we are serious about learners being at the core of what we do, then we need a new metaphor. How does thinking about this hierarchy shape a new understanding about our purpose, whatever our role may be?

  • Learners
  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Technology

And what does this next arrangement do to our thinking?

  • Learners
  • Teachers
  • Technology
  • Administrators

The conversation around technology and schooling has reached an exciting point. Feels like a tipping point is near and things are about to shift in tangible ways.