Avoiding Ineffective #EdTech: Consideration 3

Avoiding Ineffective #EdTech: Consideration 3

There are some technologies that are said to support effective practices with tech in learning, but they’re really not. The worst technology that I’ve taken to mat time and time again is interactive whiteboards.

Please! Step away from board. Resist the urge to use them. Don’t install their software. Don’t fool yourself into believing that good teaching or interactive means having one person (or even two or three) standing at the front of the room dragging things around a board.

Unfortunately, many of those who never heard or heeded my cries to stay away are now facing a situation where they’re being asked to pay tens of thousands of dollars for software formerly offered free with the board. Another issue is there are so many technical problems with the boards that they need to be replaced, or they're just not used.


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Those snake oil salesmen have fooled many, but the most savvy of innovative educators would never be caught using one of these devices. They know a gimmick from good teaching. Don’t get me wrong. When people are learning face-to-face, a monitor certainly makes sense, but it shouldn’t require special software or someone to be tethered to the front of the room for learning to occur.

It also should not require software that is not that which is commonly available to everyone inside and outside the classroom. The learning material that is featured on the screen should be able to come from anyone inside or outside the classroom whether it is being shared from the person sitting next to you, a person half way around the globe, or an inspirational, dead poet.

Unfortunately some schools and districts have wasted countless dollars on these devices. Then like the uninformed administrator, John Vallance, they paint a broad stroke that because this tech has not showed positive outcomes in teaching and learning, all tech is bad.

Not so. What is bad is that an admin was looking for that magic pill or piece of evidence to demonstrate effective teaching and learning. Connected educators know better and understand that it takes more than sage on the stage teaching and novelty software to implement practices that lead to student success.

This is part of a series in my conversation with author and professor Liz Kolb, who is teaching a course at the University of Michigan that addresses ways technology supports modern teaching and learning. Stay tuned on The Innovative Educator blog for the additional considerations in future posts. For a recap of all ten considerations visit https://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2016/10/essential-guide-to-modern-learning-10.html

Lisa Nielsen writes for and speaks to audiences across the globe about learning innovatively and is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on “Passion (not data) Driven Learning,” "Thinking Outside the Ban" to harness the power of technology for learning, and using the power of social media to provide a voice to educators and students. Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities to support learning in real and innovative ways that will prepare students for success. In addition to her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator, Ms. Nielsen’s writing is featured in places such as Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning, The Unplugged Mom, and is the author the book Teaching Generation Text.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.

Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) has worked as a public-school educator and administrator since 1997. She is a prolific writer best known for her award-winning blog, The Innovative Educator. Nielsen is the author of several books and her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Tech & Learning.  

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.