There's so much hype surrounding technology in education that it can be hard to distinguish between fact and fiction. Is modern technology giving your child unparalleled educational resources, or is it distracting her and ruining her attention span?
Peter Grunwald's insightful new report on technology in the classroom examines the connection between teachers' use of technology and students' development of "21st-century skills" like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, adaptability, and productivity. In doing so, it busts five prevalent myths about how we can take advantage of technology in schools to help students acquire these skills.
- 1. The myth: New teachers and teachers with more access to technology use technology more often.
The truth: Although restricted access to technology does discourage some teachers from using it, the main reason teachers elect not to use technology is because they don't feel it's necessary for a particular lesson.
- 2. The myth: Technology doesn't do much for students who aren't already high achievers.
The truth: According to teachers, technology seems to benefit all students, including those learning English as a second language and those with behavioral or emotional problems.
- 3. The myth: Teachers' use of technology doesn't really matter, because students these days are already comfortable with technology.
The truth:A student may be comfortable with technology, but that doesn't mean he or she is using it to learn.
- 4. The myth: Teachers and administrators are on the same page when it comes to their feelings about technology and 21st century skills.
The truth: Administrators tend to have more positive feelings about technology than teachers do. They support its use more strongly and are more enthusiastic about its effects on students.
- 5. The myth: Teachers feel well prepared to use technology in the classroom to cultivate 21st century skills in students.
The truth: Teachers often feel that their initial (undergraduate) training in this area is insufficient. They believe they're better prepared by advanced training like postgraduate studies and certification programs.
In the end, the report concludes:
The survey findings demonstrate strong connections between technology and 21st century skills. This suggests that it is important to focus on both technology and 21st century skills to achieve critical education outcomes....we need to better prepare and train teachers in technology competencies and 21st century skills so teachers can lead their students to better outcomes.
To read this and other reports about the intersection of education and technology, click here.