It is no secret that education leaders and teachers all around the world are scrambling to bring technology into the classroom and help facilitate both new methods of education and also new syllabus in relation to ICT (Information and Communication Technology). However we are often left with inadequate solutions with many not understanding the reasons and benefits of successful deployment of comprehensive ICT programs. Many (not all) educators do not understand or are even able to use the technologies themselves. Our research here at ScopeIT Education shows there are three fundamental or key areas where most schools fall short.
Under Utilising Available Technology
Although somewhat slowly, school budgets are allowing deeper investment into technology. Unfortunately however, many of the items purchased often sit dormant on the teacher's desk or tucked away in a corner. Many schools invest in forms of electronics or robotics, only to find no one actually understands them and after an hour or two are never used again. The students themselves would dearly love to utilise them, but with no educated teacher able to deliver lessons, their learning potentials are minimised and their inspiration to create is hindered. Due to time constraints, many teachers simply do not have the time nor resources to research what is needed to fully implement these technologies into their classrooms.
Technology To Consume, Not To Create
Perhaps the most common of mistakes to which many educators and the general public are susceptible, is thinking their students are utilising the technology given to them in an adequate manner. "My kids are great with computers" we hear all the time. If they mean how to load YouTube or the latest Call of Duty game then perhaps yes, but ask them to put up a website or create a mobile application, in fact, ask nearly any student to create a readily shareable project outside of Instagram or Snapchat and you'll more than likely hear nothing but silence.
The greatest tragedy is that students are utilising this technology as nothing more than a glorified, portable TV or games unit when in fact... it's a tool. The computer is the greatest tool since pen and paper and we are allowing so much valuable time to be squandered and under utilised, in a subject for which students have an insatiable appetite!
Technology Without Pedagogy
Whether it be the latest purchase of a dozen iPads given to a classroom as nothing more than an electronic book or a laptop per student program many schools simply put technology into the classroom but have no plan, outcome or learning objectives in mind. They sprinkle the latest gadgets and computers around and "hope for the best". Learning technology in an effective manner MUST be backed up by strategic, well planned curriculum. It must have structured lessons and lesson plans. It must be delivered by a trained educator with both knowledge in teaching but also the technology itself. It must be done in a manner that follows principles of why we are teaching and using the technology, not just technology in and of itself.
This is why I founded ScopeIT Education. To provide answers and solutions to these problems. I hope that schools do their research and look for their own answers as to how to bring their classrooms into the 21st century — there are many out there willing to help and we look forward to a future where students, technology and the classroom all come together as a unified learning environment.
About the Author
Frank Lucisano left his voluntary position as a Teaching Assistant with the University of Illinois and is the founder and CEO of the new in-school service ScopeIT Education (www.scopeITeducation.com.au) C.I.Y Club - Code It Yourself Club. Frank is a business leader with a passion for technology and education. He is currently the founder and CEO of ScopeIT Education, providing ICT lessons to students across Australia. Frank's former businesses include operations in events and entertainment, retail, sport, software and app development, website design and accounting industries, advising on the development and implementation of growth strategies. Not only is Frank a strong advocate of education, he has his own academic achievements including Computer Science (CS50x) at Harvard and Economics with UC Irvine and Duke University. He also undertook a volunteer position with the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana teaching Microeconomics. Frank currently sits on the advisory panel of Education Nation.Code It Yourself Club is an after-school, weekend and holiday club brand of ScopeIT Education where school aged kids can come together and learn to be creators of technology. Visit www.ciy.club for more information.
ScopeIT Education also supports local Wollongong/Illawarra Region Schools. Visit www.scopeITeducation.com.au for more information about your local Code It Yourself Club.