Photo courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz
Educators and administrators in K-12 and post-secondary education have access to an ocean of data which can assist in providing personalized instruction and identify areas where students are struggling. Unfortunately, without proper training and support teachers often find themselves drowning in the very data designed to support their classes.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently surveyed 4,600 teachers on the effectiveness of the education technology and data they have access to. Less than one third of teachers gave a fully favourable response.
The primary barrier educators have with educational technology is a lack of training and support. Too often administrators purchase new technology and expect educators to learn it on their own time. Adding to the frustration, most education technologies are incompatible with each other and inconsistent in data reporting. As a result, time that could be dedicated towards lesson planning or office hours is instead spent on collecting, aggregating, and analyzing student data.
Education technology in the United States will be receiving an unprecedented level of investment in the coming years. However, In order to fully realize the potential of this investment, educators will need dedicated professional development and increased access to developer support.
Education technology in itself is not a magic bullet; rather, it provides educators with information they can use to better understand and support their students. The technology should help teachers work more effectively, instead of working more.
About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also board member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and contributes as a communications researcher with McMaster University.