“the computer opens up new possibilities, and hence new problems…”
– Michael Gorman, 1977
As we start to turn the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic and complete my course work from my Master’s program, the role of educational technology has radically shifted as teachers and schools have tried their best to support students virtually and hybrid. What remains is an educational technology system and programs supported for staff, liked by students, and allow teachers to continue improving their craft and augment their curriculum.
Administrators cannot throw technology at classrooms, teachers, and students with hopes of seeing student achievement or improved test scores. Inside the classroom, technology cannot be the main focus of lessons and coursework. It has always been my goal that when introducing new technology, those students are still accomplishing a learning objective, using the technology as the tool. For example, if rolling out Google Draw or allowing students to practice, they could create postcards that speak towards learning about the geography and climate of the Arabian Peninsula as an introduction to my 7th grade World History unit on Islam.
Decision-makers must support new technology through continued coaching and professional development. Further, there must be support and access given for your technology-evangelists to those who are unsure how to turn on a computer. Suppose a teacher only feels comfortable using Google Classroom to collect assignments. In that case, those are beginning steps to which an educational technology specialist can support and then add on more features as the teacher gets more comfortable. Teachers must also help students in their educational technology pursuits. Teachers should only be using technology for which they entirely comfortable using and seek out experts that could support new plans.
With new educational technology pursuits, there is bound to be something that does not work, the application does not do everything it is marketed to be, or a mistake is made. Students need to see and experience these goofs. Students should know that it is ok to make mistakes and have teachers model what to do to get past the error or try again with an application, device, or assignment.