Apr 12 2012

5 Hot-Button Technology Issues Your Colleagues Are Talking About

Educators discuss the technologies sparking conversation in today's K-12 classrooms.

Few relationships have changed more dramatically as a result of technology than that of teacher and student. As digital learning and the march of mobile devices transcend education, teachers have no choice but to innovate — or risk losing touch.

As you ponder the latest and greatest ways to integrate technology into your classrooms, our editors have compiled a collection of insights on hot-button issues from some of educational technology’s best and brightest. Hear what your colleagues are saying below, and join the conversation today.

On students bringing their own mobile technology into the classroom...

“We already know that our students are bringing in their cell phones anyway. So why not take them out of their book bags or take them out of their pockets, or whatever they are doing, and put them on the desk and use them for education?”
Cory Tressler, Director of Virtual Learning, Beaufort County (S.C.) School District

“We’re actually looking at empowering learners to use their devices as you or I would use our devices.”
Becky Fisher, Director of Educational Technology and Professional Development, Albemarle County (Va.) Public Schools

On the impact of social media…

“Social media has been a big part of my life growing up and a big part of students’ lives — so for us not to use it, in my opinion, would be crazy. We’ve got to speak their language.”
Travis Allen, Founder, iSchool Initiative

“What we need to do as educators is to find ways to make the social media relevant to the course.”
Alex Inman, Director of Information Services, Sidwell Friends School

On cloud computing…

“Whenever a new question comes up, it’s like, ‘OK, we’re going to move everything to the cloud.’ We have to think through every nuance of absolutely everything before we can do anything in the cloud, and it’s ridiculous. There are some things we can do in the cloud right away.”
Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO, New Media Consortium

“We use Google Apps for Education. We use Wikispaces. We use a lot of Web 2.0 tools. And it doesn’t matter what the device is — they are device agnostic. So, really, our teachers and students can be productive no matter what they are using.”
Jean Tower, Director of Technology, Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough, Mass.

On measuring progress…

“We, as a society, are still worrying about how a kid tests. We’ve got to get rid of grades. You’ve got to move on at a certain level. We standardize it so much with this testing that it’s crippling how we teach. ”
Brian Hackett, Instructional Technologist, Prince William County (Va.) Schools

“I do think that in the public sector, taxpayers, community members, parents — they want to see a return on that investment. And, ultimately, whether it’s looking at state assessments, or SAT, ACT, or whatever, it’s really important to understand that that’s a measure the public will use and to be attentive to it.”
Mark Edwards, Superintendent, Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District

On preparing students for success…

“The technology is moving so quickly that we actually have to speed up. And I think the kids are probably — if we really sat down, maybe we could find some creative ways to have the kids teach us what they want to learn. Maybe it would be a better experience for them. And maybe we’d even get kids who stay in school longer.”
Noemi Flores, Web and Applications Manager, Kent (Wash.) School District

“Everybody knows that real learning is happening all the time. It’s just not happening very often in our classrooms. So the question is, how do we change that? How do we change the culture to take advantage of these new things and make them as powerful in the classroom as they are outside?”
Douglas Thomas, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication

Extra Credit: If you only had $1 to spend on K–12 education, how would you spend it?

“I’d get in a cab and go to the nearest school, and talk to the teachers there and talk to the kids there, listen to the parents, and just try to really get a better sense of what they want out of their school.”
Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO, New Media Consortium