A great swordsman needs a great sword.
In fact, without the right sword, a good swordsman might never be great. The tool he wields must be balanced and harmonic. As an implement, it can augment the ability of the warrior. But however “great” a sword (no matter how well-made), it can never replace the man who brandishes it. It is simply a tool.
As is technology.
Yet, we must remember that just as a warrior needs his sword to win battles, we educators need our technology.
In December, CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) released a research report titled: The Changing Classroom: Perspectives from Students and Educators on the Role of Technology. The study found that technology, as a tool, was one of the most important factors in how students viewed their future successes, (just as the sword can determine a swordsman’s failure). When polled, nine out of ten students believed that technology in the classroom will better prepare them for jobs in an “increasingly digital economy” (4), and they overwhelmingly agree that tech in the classroom makes the environment more “fun” and engaging.
But do teachers agree?
CompTIA’s report illustrated that educators rated the importance of technology below only two other factors: student achievement of standards and budget constraints, making it third in a list of priorities! We, too, see the significance of the instrument we are utilizing. In fact, 70% of schools polled think that technology will improve student performance, but only 7% of teachers feel that their school is exactly where it needs to be in terms of the tech available.
It seems that as swordsmen, we may not be wielding the best swords. Yet.
The number one issue cited with building the edtech in our schools is cost. Just like a great sword, new tech comes at a hefty price; this school year alone, the U.S. approximated technology expenditure at $619 billion.
But in an age in which the digital world is one of power, we cannot lose focus of putting the best tools into the hands of our teachers, and while technology is not a panacea for what is failing in American schools, in the right hands, it can increase student engagement and prepare them for a successful future.
Furthermore, 75% of teachers find that using technology has a positive effect on students’ learning. I would estimate that an even larger number of teachers at my own school feel this way, as we are lucky enough to have a BYOD program that requires all students to bring a laptop to school with them.
Teachers use tech for everything from presentations to quizzes to cooperative learning groups to discussions, and students seem to use it for even more. Just today, I’ve seen students engaged in:
No Fear Shakespeare Online
The school website
And that was in just one class period (all school-related work).
As educators, we have one of the greatest tools to ever be gifted to teaching.
So, grasp that sword and charge on!
Visit CompTIA’s site for more information and for the full report.