Technology Progression Should Take a Year Off

I noticed today that technology moves so fast we almost are never caught up. In EdTech, it’s common joke that by the time you discover, collaborate, decide, install whatever “it” is and the first class of students gets a gander at the new purchase, it is obsolete. Its true! Us tech folk move, think, act and BUY at a rate much faster than the average school board can approve. Dreams of using 3D printers, gamification and badging are far-fetched dreams to some educators. The words 3D, gamification and badging are seen as misspellings in my browsers auto-correct as I type in fact! I participate in meetings, breakouts, webinars, seminars, expos and summits of all kinds of technology, yet the schools I talk are not nearly up to whatever it is these manufactures were showing last year. Sure liquid-cooled projectors are sweet and the dream of complete wireless networking controlling a full-scale Chromebook are sweet but we are not equally across the board. Before a Common Core is reached, we need a common ground on technology.

330px-Diffusion_of_ideas.svgProfessional development is something I can guarantee does not get as many hours as R&D or even the amount of marketing thought behind products. Title 1 schools surrounded by Section 8 housing are something that should be looked at before we reach the latest and greatest technology in top schools. If manufacture’s took a year off from development it would not be such a bad thing. From a certain standpoint, being the top developer is not as profitable as one might think. The “innovators” and “early adopters” of technology, as illustrated by the graph on the right on the Diffusion of Innovation, only account for 15% of a market share. In schools, it is the buyers in the later 85% I talk to. They love to hear what great stuff I am playing with but they lack a backing of savvy educators. Though they are immersed daily in the education of those who are technology natives… students today can use technology in ways unimaginable to the common teacher. Case point, I spoke with a teacher who couldn’t explain a projector that malfunctioned during class, every week day, 5th period. Turns out the projector had an app a student had downloaded that functioned the apps basic features. Able to control power, focus, orientation and other basic functions, you can see a Pranksters Paradise in the making I am sure.

In the end, I wish I was shown enough, in the form of professional development, how we can move technology comfortably into schools. A full year of this would be great! Get involved in what works, what does not, on a large scale. The inundation of marketing isn’t nearly as valuable as showing someone how to use the thing and I think that is where the disconnect is. I learn much more from educators than manufactures when it comes to the best in EdTech. I believe some manufactures could do the same and take the coffee, donuts and demos (along with me of course) down to my schools instead for some PD.

The featured pic (also below) was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. It is of the coalescing galaxies NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, in the constellation Corvus which lies some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus. The stars in the two galaxies very rarely collide in the course of the ponderous cataclysm, lasting hundreds of millions of years. But their large clouds of molecular gas and dust often do, triggering furious episodes of star formation near the center of the cosmic wreckage. This photo spans about 500 thousand light-years, to give you some size reference, and was called “The Antennae” when first discovered.


via NASA 

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