Having spent the last year as a technology coach, I have worked with numerous teachers and students on a variety of tech related projects. This is my observation:
Using technology in the classroom forces all involved to work. First, teachers need to learn the technology so they can be comfortable with it when working with students. Then they have to teach the technology to the students. Then the students have to learn it and use it. It’s a messy process and takes time, time that might seem better spent with direct instruction (meaning that the students copy down notes as the teacher lectures).
Using technology as an instruction aid is a hard sell when the stakes for learning are so high. Many teachers are reluctant.
However, when a teacher does take the plunge, he or she often enters a world of learning that makes it hard to return fully to the way lesson were once taught. The teacher becomes excited about teaching. Students become excited about learning and become engaged in their educations. They are no longer learning facts out of a book and spitting them back out in the form of a multiple choice test. They are learning why facts are facts, assimilating knowledge and producing original content that reflects not only what has been learned, but a sense of identity in a global community.
Do I think that technology is the answer for raising test scores? Probably not, but learning with technology is not going to hurt test scores either. It is not the magic bullet, but it helps. At least students will be engaged in their own learning and have a means to share what they have learned with the world. When learning becomes personal and can be shared, real learning takes place, and technology is a conduit that makes this possible.
So, this is what I have learned: We have to use technology in our classrooms. It is imperative. Through this medium of education, all involved, both teachers and the student, learn and grow together. Both become engaged in learning. That is the whole point of education. Sometimes we get mixed up when talking about the purpose of education. The purpose is not to see how many facts we can cram into students head. The purpose is create lifelong learners.