We must either: integrate technology or support teachers; teach traditionally or personalize learning; support districts or support charters; fund edtech or fund schools; individualize learning or humanize instruction. As oversimplified as the above statements may seem, recent public discourse around ongoing trends in K-12 education has fallen into this trap of two-sided, black-and-white debates. Too often, education leaders pit one perspective against another, creating false dichotomies that do more harm than good.
This binary approach has been especially pervasive in the debate over personalized learning. As the movement grows, skeptics have vocalized concerns that aim to polarize opinions, especially with the use of technology in classrooms. However, we must recognize that either side of these false dichotomies (e.g., teachers vs. technology, individualization vs. humanization, etc.) is not sufficient to serving our students best. As a former classroom educator, I’ve found that the intersections at which “opposing” sides actually align are where we’ll discover the best solutions for our classrooms.
Most will agree that technology cannot and will not replace the role of a teacher, and we should never strive for that outcome. However, that does not mean classrooms must be void of technology in order to preserve the impact of teachers. Rather, strategic integration of technology can empower a teacher to do more while being efficient.
Understandably, there is concern about the overuse of technology and the amount of screentime in schools. But let’s not simplify time spent with technology to only individualized, low-level consumption of content, and, conversely, time without technology to effective learning.
Instead, we should scrutinize the quality and rigor of student learning throughout the entire school day, whether it involves technology or not.
Read the full article about teachers and technology by Stephen Pham at EdSurge.