2018 is off to a quick start and the first month has already passed. Jason and I spent some time in January catching up on the state of edtech around the nation and found some disheartening results. We know studies and stories alone do not tell the entire truth but we wanted to take the time to highlight a particular study we thought showcased some challenges we face right now in use of edtech in the learning environment.
If you are not familiar with GoGuardian, it is a tool educators can use to monitor student activity on classroom laptops, specifically Chromebooks. It is a great tool and can help teachers ensure that technology in the classroom is being used appropriately by students. The GoGuardian study we wanted to highlight is the result of usage statistics that were collected from about 5 million K12 students around the United States.
The first aspect of the study that drew my attention was the fact that G-Suite (Google Sites) accounted for 60% of the top sites used in the classroom. GoGuardian actually omitted the G-Suite from the rest of the study because it skewed the remaining results. The G-Suite is an amazing set of tools students can use for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc, but these tools do not directly impact the lessons being taught. That is, the G-Suite provides fantastic peripheral tech capabilities but it really only represents the S (substitution) in the SAMR model (substituting for paper in most cases).
The second and perhaps more disheartening portion of the GoGuardian study highlights that the vast majority of technology usage in the classroom after the G-Suite tools go toward ‘education games.’ While a lot of these games can be fun and can certainly be used here and there to engage students, the fact that they comprise the majority of ‘tech’ usage indicates a serious challenge.
Our 2018 resolution here at Edjro is to help rectify that issue by continuing to share as much as we can about amazing existing tools and building some of our own. We feel that teachers simply need more ideas when it comes to the transformation levels of the SAMR model and we are striving to create and share more. Simply having more edtech tools is not enough as teachers need opportunities to learn through training and resource development how to use these tools to modify and redefine lessons. In addition to building some new edtech tools, we strive to provide resources and training to ensure educators are comfortable deploying these tools in their classrooms.