Beware!!! Implementing educational technology is not as easy as it looks. One cannot duct-tape an iPod to each kid’s wrist and call it digital learning. There is a wealth of great research outlining the best ways to implement technology, and some schools even read some of it. I recommend Clayton Christenson’s Disrupting Class as a great place to start.
In the meantime, try to avoid the following pitfalls:
- Throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Technology should never replace effective instruction and learning. If something is truly not broken, adding a screen will not improve upon it.
- Assuming 21st century skills are about using more computers. Check out ASCD, P21, SCANS, and other materials that outline 21st century skills, and you will be surprised how many have so little to do with computers.
- Forcing curriculum into a Procrustean bed of technology. Sometimes an iPad just can’t replace a laptop. Adding 300 more hours of training to address work-arounds is not going make using it practical.
- Assuming good educational technology is expensive. Most online educational technology sites are free or of little cost, and offer mobility, storage, and differentiation. (Edmodo, Spellingcity, and Google Docs are a few personal favorites.)
- Thinking of technology as a destination, and not as an evolutionary plane.
- Adding technology without training. Educators at every level need training, and plenty of it.
- Offering the choice to implement current technology. Scott McLeod and others write a lot about this. People are resistant to change. Giving them an opt-out is asking for trouble.