It seems that technology has been embedded into education since perhaps the first sharp stick scratched the etchings of thought into the sand. Each time a new technology for education is developed, it was generally for the improvement in learning. Higgins, Xiax and Katsipataki (2012) clearly advise that when technology is used to improve learning, it is essential to determine the problem the new technology aims to solve. But since the development of the first personal computer in the 1970s, there has been a steady influx of new technologies which have been entrenched to everyday life, with a seemingly natural flow on into the education of our youth.
For a long time there has been an uneasy relationship between educational technology development and education practices. As new ideas, models and pedagogical approaches are discussed, learnt and implement in the classroom, teachers change to better suit the needs of the students and the demands of their authoritative body. Even in my own time of teaching there have been significant changes in the delivery, assessment and reporting of curriculum standards. My teaching has gone from the chalk and blackboard centred classroom, to the laptop and collaborative learner space. Each time a new idea was introduced, a rumbling of discontent or insecurity enveloped the staffroom. Many of these ‘technology in education’ inductions have been initially developed outside the walls of the educational institution, perhaps inducing resentment among the educators targeted for the technology delivery.
In recent times there has been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of educators in the classroom. In her book ‘Tech-savvy kids, Parker (2010) talks of a shift in the attitude of educators to understand digital technologies to offer more engaged, student-centred learning opportunities within schools. Her thoughts, and those of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (2012), describe that with the advent of the internet and social media, the way students learn has changed and emerging web technologies have connected students outside the classroom walls. Educators, and researchers, are embracing the opportunities these technologies can bring to the class room. Many of the current educators are likely to be active ‘digital natives’ and see how recent digital technologies can be included in the school curriculum delivery.
A recent research presented by the NMC Horizon Report (2013) has tried to identify, and describe, emerging technologies that will have a large impact on education in the coming years. In this report they identify cloud computing and mobile learning as becoming a pervasive part of everyday life in much of the world, and Reidel (2014) goes to say that these technologies are beyond tipping point, with most kids not using the traditional computer connected to the internet at home. This likely has enormous implications for the 21st century educator in the traditional classroom setting. Where does this leave the staffroom rumblings? Hopefully these educators are busy implementing some of their own learning in the cloud with their own mobile devices.
Any new technology that captures widespread attention is likely to provoke serious hand wringing, if not full-blown panic. When the sewing machine was introduced, there were people who feared the implications that women moving their legs up and down would affect female sexuality. boyd (2014)
boyd, d., (2014) It’s complicated Yale University Press
Higgins, S., Xiao, Z., & Katsipataki, M. (2012) The Impact of Digital Technology on Learning: A Summary for the Education Endowment Foundation. School of Education, Durham University.
Nussbaum-Beach, S., (2012) The connected Educator Learning and leading in a digital age Solution Tree Press
Parker, J., (2010) Teaching tech-savvy kids: Bringing digital media into the classroom Grades 5-12 SAGE publications
Riedel, C., (2014) 10 Major Trends in Education http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/02/03/10-major-technology-trends-in-education.aspx