Wanted: Long-Term Thinking about Technology and Education

The rampant spread of technology-mediated learning has set off fits of hype and hand-wringing—yet the U.S.’s traditional centers of higher education have mostly failed to confront the pace of change and the implications for students. There is probably no way anyone can keep up with this transformation: the technology is simply evolving too rapidly. Nevertheless, we keep trying. Will these developments truly serve our goals for advanced education? We need to know urgently.

image via flickr:CC | karola riegler photography

Flipped Learning 106: Redefining the Librarian Teacher Role with Josh Mika

This week on the Flipped Learning Network Show: This episode of the podcast, Troy Cockrum interviewed Josh Mika, an Elementary LRC Director from Naperville, Illinois.  The two discuss the evolving role of Media Specialists and Librarian in school and how technology is pushing that change. You can also catch up on a lot of resources from the Flipped Learning Network by going to http://ift.tt/1crbNu5. Follow Troy on Twitter Follow Josh on Twitter       Leave us some feedback! Contact us with any […]

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Teacher workload – perception versus reality.

We created FreshGrade because we wanted to be more involved in our kids’ education. We saw the need for a learning collaboration environment, like FreshGrade, from our perspective as parents, because we felt we lacked real visibility into the classroom.  However, as we began the journey to develop our product we have become advocates for the educators.  We saw a huge gap between what the real workload was for teachers versus the perceived one. 

Recruitment for post-graduate studies in education promotes the “social impact” a career in teaching offers.  It’s a beautiful image. You’re creating programs to support learning and instilling a love for knowledge among those that are most impressionable, and society is grateful, right? Unfortunately, the perception of the teaching profession among those outside of education is that teachers have great work-life balance.  They arrive for the school bell, impart their lesson plan, and then leave at 3pm to carry on with their extra-curricular activities.  Sadly and frustratingly, there is very limited recognition for the actual time it takes to be a teacher, let alone an effective one.

Modern teaching is not just about lesson plans and report cards.  It requires layers of data reporting and policy compliance, let alone the growing need for lesson customization to support individual learning needs.  The goliath LMS (Learning Management System) and SIS (Student Information System) companies are scrambling to push through new features to support modern teaching, but they’ve missed the mark.  They’ve lost focus and have created more barriers than removed them.

recent article out of the UK profiles a teacher, named Sam Burton, on his career in teaching and his pondering of whether or not it is manageable.  In the article, Burton says, “I am expected to input assessment data into spreadsheets and copy it into other programs click by click, working out manually whether a percentage equates to a ‘P6c’ or a ‘P6b’… I assess work that has already been assessed by completing lavish ‘Next Step’ stickers to satisfy Ofsted (UK regulatory and inspection body).”

He goes on to say, “the only way to do a good job is to work breathless 12-plus-hour days every day, which I cannot keep up. I am not content, however, to work less and do a bad job for the children. I am angry that I am effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love.”

We built FreshGrade to remove barriers, so you can focus on being an effective teacher and creating the social impact that you were promised when you chose this career.

After talking to thousands of teachers through the development of FreshGrade, I now truly know the work you do – all of it - not just what happens when the kids are piled into the classroom.  So, as a parent – thank you.

- Steve Wandler, FreshGrade Co-founder

Watch on inthecloud.gjmueller.com

Important Questions About Technology and Learning

  1. What do we want technology to do in schools?
  2. Does more money equal increased learning?
  3. If we buy a lot of expensive technology and sometimes use it ineffectively, or dangerously, what does that get us?
  4. Are we asking the right questions about technology, learning, and schools?
  5. What world will our students exit school into?
  6. What skills will they need to be successful? Collaboration - Communication - Creativity - Divergent thinking
  7. We need technology to help foster these skills, and point our students in the right direction
  8. Is the way we are using technology now turning our students ‘off’ to the people and the world around them?