Ethical or cynical?
Educational technology, “edutech”, has been defined as “… the ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance using appropriate technological processes and resources” or, more cynically, as, “A set of expensive tools sold to schools purporting to improve learning but not actually proven to do so.”
Viewpoints will differ depending on personal experience, but there is now irrefutable evidence that appropriate use of edutech reaps wide-ranging rewards. Chris Ogilvie-Taylor investigates one of these.
Making the connection between the use of classroom technology and an improvement in pedagogy standards is not difficult. The evidence is out there and it’s overwhelming. Teachers using edutech on a daily basis now wonder how they ever managed without it and their pupils, whose lives are totally digital-centric, accept it as their norm.
Making connections between edutech and higher rates of conversion from parent show-arounds, improvement in schools’ marketing success and greater parental acceptance of increased fees are all eminently possible and factually available from edutech-using schools.
But what about making the connection between the use of edutech and successful teacher recruitment? Is that possible? I believe it certainly is and the evidence is growing for this direct link. Take the international schools sector as an example. Forecast growth in the sector over the next few years is exponential with thousands of new schools planned to open around the world, but the supply of qualified teachers isn’t keeping up with this rapid increase in schools and teacher shortages are looming. As a result schools are now, and will increasingly be, competing for the best teachers and offering ever more competitive packages as enticement. There has to be a limit to how far schools can go with these packages if classroom teachers are not to end up earning more than the Governor of the Bank of England! So other considerations come into play for teachers considering a move and an increasingly important one of these is edutech.
Most teachers aged 20 – 45 have their lesson plans and resources in digital form so their concern is how well equipped are a school’s classrooms and how advanced is the classroom technology – hardware and software? For these teachers it won’t do to answer their questions on the school’s edutech situation with responses including the phrases: “ink markers and white boards”, “passive projection” or “… thinking about it.”
Most of the best, inspiring teachers are looking for the greatest and latest multi-media support to their dynamic, engaging and creative lessons so it’s a big drawback for them if the school they are considering joining can’t deliver these essential resources.
A fundamental resource
Edutech has come on a long journey from being a nice-to-have for the elite to a fundamental resource for all and its tentacles are far reaching. If you have not already done so, now might be the time to take a long, hard and objective look at your school’s edutech provision and use.
Written by Chris Ogilvie-Taylor
COT October 2015Chris is CEO of Marsden Grant International providers of educational technology to international and national schools worldwide. He lives and works in central London when not travelling the world to promote his company’s products. Prior to founding Marsden Grant, Chris was an ad man for 20 years. In addition to edutech, Chris’s interests are horology, reading, cooking and travel. Chris is married with two children.
This article originally appeared in International Teacher Magazine (ITM), and is reproduced by kind permission of the publishers, Consilium Education.
For more articles in ITM, please see www.consiliumeducation.com/itm