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The usefulness of technology in education

The usefulness of technology in education

Strangely enough, the most popular blog post on this website is 13 reasons to use educational technology in lessons. Why strange? Because I wrote it over three years ago. I re-read it recently, and (thank goodness!) I still agree with what I wrote all that time ago. I’d like to add more to it, but rather than do that I thought I would contribute to Mark Anderson’s series on this subject.

Children at school, by Lucélia Ribeiro https://www.flickr.com/photos/lupuca/

Mark, known on Twitter as @ictevangelist, is running a series called Three Questions on Technology, in which guests contribute their thoughts on these three questions:

  • What place, if any, has technology got in education?
  • What’s your favourite edtech tool for learning and why?
  • What are your thoughts on students using mobile devices in the classroom?

Great questions, I think you will agree, and so far there have been some very interesting answers. I intend to contribute myself some time in the next few weeks.

There is one thing I wish, and one thing I hope:

I wish I’d have thought of this series myself! It’s a great idea for the following reasons:

  • It enables you to see at a glance what other people think the role of technology in education is.
  • It provides a way of finding out about some interesting tools you may not have come across – I found out about one I hadn’t heard of before.
  • It provides a way of finding out about people you may not have come across.
  • It provides an insight into how different practitioners think about Bring Your Own Device, a subject on which I have researched and written reasonably extensively.
  • It should provide some ‘ammunition’ should you have the misfortune of finding yourself in a school whose headteacher doesn’t ‘get it’.

I hope:

That Mark collates all of these posts at some point and makes it available as a downloadable PDF. That’s what I did with the Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book (still available at the fantastic price of $zilch! Just go to http://www.ictineducation.org/free-stuff/ and scroll down). It’s what I intend to do with my forthcoming magnum opus, again collated from people’s contributions, The Computer Education Projects Book. Making it available as a free PDF is a good idea for the following reasons:

  • It will bring all the contributions together in one volume that people can read on the tube. That is my benchmark for readability. The London tube (currently) doesn’t have wi-fi access underground, so having a PDF would be good because you don’t need an internet connection once you’ve downloaded it.
  • It will, usefully, bring all the apps, tools and other technology mentioned by people together in one place, thereby providing a useful reference work.
  • Again, it should provide a useful body of ‘evidence’ should you need to convince your headteacher that technology is worth investing in.
  • I specifically suggested the PDF format because it is still the most popular one. But there is no reason, should Mark have both the time and the inclination, to not make it available in several ebook formats.

Whatever Mark decides on this matter, the series is a good one to follow using the link I provided earlier. Should you yourself decide to contribute, here is the online form for you to complete: http://ictevangelist.com/three-questions-on-technology/.

cross-posted at www.ictineducation.org

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Digital Education."