Top 10 Criteria for Choosing Edtech

 

Jo Fothergill

Jo Fothergill

There are important considerations that need to be at the forefront of our decision making when it comes to choosing edtech. When we metaphorically ‘grab’ onto the technology and use it without thought as to how it affects our pedagogy, we may be putting our learners at a a disadvantage. Therefore, there are several things we need to consider including creating a balance of using technologies against ‘tried and true’ evidence based, research-based, community-based, and culturally appropriate strategies for learning. Ed-tech in and of itself does not provide easy answers.

The following is a list of my top 10 criteria for integrating edtech:

1.Classroom Ecology: Critically think about your classroom community, the needs, the best ways to promote student voice. Don’t just strive to foster the ecology, also have flexibility and openness to understanding the natural ecology and how you can harness that for success. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

2. Participation vs Consumption. Consider how the students and learners are going to participate with the digital tool and the technology within each unique learning environment. Are we promoting Participation with the tool…or merely consumption? What is the difference, and what are the implications? Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

3. Pedagogy. What are your goals? Will you suffer if you ‘step away’ from your pedagogy to ‘try out’ new edtech? If so, it is time to consider what PD you might be interested in. How can teachers be supported in ways that promote learning about the ‘art and science’ of integrating the digital tools into professional pack practice. This is <a href=”http://bigideasinedu.edublogs.org/2013/08/22/technology-should-not-offset-good-pedagogy/”>pedagogy</a&gt;. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time?

4. Leadership. Make messages crystal-clear with regards to the ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘when’ of implementing new platforms. It is important to avoid sending mixed messages to all stakeholders involved in education. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

5. Balancing enthusiasm with research and knowledge. Having a real understanding about what text tools can actually do and what they cannot actually do is important. Avoid holding any delusions were glorified ideas about how they’re helping our students. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

6. Minimize distraction. One that cannot be ignored is that many technology tools are linked with other tools social media tools another digital learning tools. How can we minimize distraction for students, when we cannot monitor them all the time, to help them get the most of their learning experiences? Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

7. Adaptive Technology.. Adapting technology tools to warrant appropriate learning needs and appropriate learning goals. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

8. Promoting Collaboration. In what ways can we use the technology to learn together, to collaborate, to share, and to build new knowledges. How can we tailor each situation to our own specific needs? Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

9. Ethics. How do we carefully consider the ethics involved? Part of being ethical, is working within our boundaries of competence to be able to provide the best learning outcomes for our students. Further, It is important to Carefully outline the needs of all stakeholders, the ethical considerations that need to be understood. Psychologists have to take graduate-level courses in ethics and decision-making, how are educators trained to make important ethical decisions in education, let alone decisions that involve the ever evolving dimensions of Ed-tech? Further, What are educators responsibilities to learners? Should we be developing content and software and hardware unique to our local school boards and businesses? For instance based on present and future privacy and data mining concerns etc., should we consider local platforms or local clouds that will promise to always keep student information safe? Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

10. Equity and Accessibility. How are we ensuring that technology is being used to promote equity and accessibility to information and knowledge? Equity is also about ensuring that our most disenfranchised students are not missing out on key opportunities to learn basic methods from tried and true pedagogies, in exchange for more time spent navigating edtech. Educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? 

Ed-tech provides many wonderful opportunities for educators and learners. But we do need to be mindful of these important considerations for the greater good of all students. I really think that educators must also take a step back and think about how much time the edtech will take up in class. Overtime, will this result in the vast majority of students losing out on key instructional time? What will this look like for an entire school? Community? City? Province? Country? Will too much enthusiasm spent with edtech result in more students not having the basic skills that we already know are important? At what cost are we promoting edtech? Let’s face it, the research is thin. I certainly promote edtech and use it, but I also believe in not losing what we have already gained!

What criteria do you use to find your edtech tools?

D.McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

11 thoughts on “Top 10 Criteria for Choosing Edtech

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