Why schools should be more choosy about technology

Extension of One-to-One ComputingIncreasing use of learning management systemsthe popularization of smartphones and the development of artificial intelligence And virtual reality are part of the new technology fa├žade in many K-12 schools.

The problem, according to Natalie Milman, a professor of educational technology at George Washington University, and other researchers, is that many schools take a “technological solution” approach to implementing these technologies, meaning that technology is a view that solves problems in the education system. In Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education In a paper published in the journal. They say it’s time to think more critically about the technology educators use.

Natalie Millman 130

Courtesy of Natalie Millman

In a Zoom interview with Education Weekly, Millman explains why it’s important to take a more critical look at educational technology, what it takes to do that, and the role of teacher preparation programs in more thoughtful use of technology in schools.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Why Educators Should Still Be Concerned About Technology Use in Schools

One of the things we emphasize in the article is that technology is not neutral, and in its design, it can be designed in ways that can cause harm.

For example, with the technological tools used in the classroom, in some cases teachers simply have no choice. so what do you do how do you use it How do we make sure it doesn’t specifically harm children? How can we use it in ways that promote justice and liberation?

Is the role of Big Tech in education too big now?

In many ways, Big Tech is driving what happens in schools and how educational technology is used.The use of different educational technology tools shapes what and how [content] Be taught that when the responsibility really should be on the teacher.

It is also problematic that tech companies can track individuals and their data. What happened to the data being collected? Can school systems opt out? Are parents aware that data about their children and our school is being collected? What is the school district doing to protect children? What policies do they have in place to protect children’s data?

I’ve been advocating for technology for most of my career, so I don’t want to come across as not advocating for it. We’re just calling on teachers and those preparing teachers to consider the tools they’re using and how they’re not neutral. They are very political. Those who make them may have designed them with biases that we may not even be aware of, which can harm ourselves and even our students.

How do teacher preparation programs address these issues?

Historically, teacher education in particular has had this tech-solutionist view: You use technology to solve problems. You use technology and you can do better. What we argue is that teacher educators should help their preservice and serving teachers understand this dichotomy and everything in between about educational technology and really look at its use as well as look at the tools themselves.

The field itself could raise its standards. Often, what is taught is driven by existing standards. There are some teacher edtech standards that do address ethics and being good digital citizens, but we don’t think it goes deep enough. We hope that the standard can be studied in more depth.

How can teachers take a more critical approach to technology integration in the classroom?

One is to make their students aware. We must teach our students to be skeptical consumers. Make them realize that technology is only as good as how it was designed. Sometimes the design itself won’t find the right answer, it might give you the wrong answer.

What can school and district leaders do?

They can lead or have others lead workshops and help teachers in their school systems be more critical and understand this history of educational technology.

They can implement policies that protect students and give students, their parents and guardians, and teachers the ability to opt in or out of different uses of technology and how their data is used.



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