Greg Whitby challenges the focus on technology and devices in education at the risk of losing sight of our real business – teaching and learning. Whitby’s comments are a reminder that the wow factor of new technology will continue to amaze and hopefully inspire, but as Philip Callil mentions earlier in the podcast, there is the potential for a ‘so what’ response or a sense of lurching from one technological gimmick to another, chasing the wow factor buzz without deep learning taking place at all.

Whitby’s comments provide some solace for a widely experienced frustration that busy teachers simply cannot keep up with rapid change and development without the risk of burnout. For many teachers the rapid pace of technological change, alongside realigning curriculum with an evolving and uncertain Australian Curriculum and managing the requirements of professional learning to comply with AITSL requirements, can seem incredibly daunting and exhausting. So what is the future of technology in education? What model of thinking allows teachers to effectively use technology to promote learning?

In the past decade, as a society we have initiated one:one programs and initiatives to drive technology into education, often to ‘keep up’ and not always with a holistic plan in place. Schools are a competitive marketplace and there is often a sense that we need to provide technology that makes us appear new age. For technology to be embraced by teachers and students alike it must augment and complement other people-centred approaches, allowing engaging learning to be facilitated.

We want for our students to have every advantage, although for many educators, providing advantage with technology requires a paradigm shift. We are teaching a generation that have not known a world without ubiquitous technology and it is important to reconsider our role as educators. Our students are frequently more adept in using multiple devices, social media platforms and software than we can expect to be, so a position of knowledge sharing and facilitation needs to be assumed; be open to learning together, facilitating rather than delivering learning and empower students by being prepared to learn from them.

References:

Future Tense – 21st Century Education ABC (2012) retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/21st-century-education/4197700#transcript