Every week I respond to the ClassDojo #dojochatEU Twitter conversation, which happens every Wednesday evening. This week’s topic was “Has technology a place in education?” Here are the questions:
Q1. Why do you think #edtech has a place in education?
Education and technology must go hand in hand because the world and technology go hand in hand. The education world must represent what is happening in the world. Thankfully, most people now agree about the importance of technology in education. There are, of course, the naysayers who believe children have too much screen time at home so should get a break from it in school, but to me, this is the same logic that expects schools to pick up for every inadequacy in a child’s life. The answer to children getting too much screentime at home is to lessen the amount of screentime at home. Schools aren’t going to put screens in front of children all day either.
Q2. What barriers do you face using #edtech in school?
Broadband is the key area in Irish schools. However, I feel that technical support is also up there as one of the biggest barriers. At a minimum, it costs around €4,000 per annum to maintain a medium-sized school, which doesn’t include anything going wrong. Most schools have computers that are more than 5 years old and very few have computers that are fast enough to do everything that’s needed. Another issue is the lack of a cohesive government plan. There have been many attempts but all of them were too wordy and complicated to implement.
Q3. What skills outside the curriculum are taught through using#edtech?
I guess typing can be used outside of the curriculum. However, I feel most edtech stuff can be integrated into the curriculum if thought out properly.
Q4. To what extent is whole-school culture important to #edtech & how do you develop this?
I think it’s massively important. While lone rangers can have some impact, if the culture to embrace technology is within a school, it generates a culture of sharing and collaboration amongst staff and pupils. It also breaks down the barriers of traditional teaching and opens up the classroom walls.
Q5. What impact can #edtech have on teacher admin? Examples? Does this help learning?
The single most impactful piece of edtech for teacher administration in Ireland was the launch of Aladdin, a pupil management system. There is nothing out there that makes life easier for a teacher. It covers everything they could possibly ever need in terms of finding out information about any child.
Q6. Given our chat so far, why should we bother with #edtech?
I haven’t changed my mind on any of the above so… next question!
Q7. What’s your best story of edtech success in your classroom?
One of the best things we did was video conferencing with the New York Hall of Science. We had two workshops with them across the Atlantic. It was amazing to be able to get probably the best science lessons ever via this medium.
Q8. What behaviour management strategies do you use – does#edtech feature?
Most of the staff in my school use ClassDojo right now. It’s by far the best behaviour management tool around and it complements our whole school behaviour policy.