In his comments on yesterday’s early morning rant on the state of instructional technology, Miguel makes some very good points about how school districts like ours are being “swallowed up by a “new” vision of tech use in schools”.
We’re now at IT 2.0*. In IT 1.0*, it was all about what teachers could do with technology in the classroom, productivity and publishing. NOW, IT 2.0 is about administrative uses of tech to enhance data-driven administration, top-down control of technology use by others, limiting liability and ensuring asset management.
Of course, there are still some teachers using technology as a creative tool for teaching and learning. But in terms of money and priorities, priorities around here have shifted to technology projects for, as Miguel puts it, “control rather than direct instruction”.
Over the past decade, we’ve spent millions for computerized attendance, grading, and curriculum systems (none of which play well with our student information system from the same company).
Additional large chunks of cash have also gone to various software packages to generate practice standardized tests and for accumulating student numbers, analyzing the data and publishing pretty reports.
And teams in the district are now working on building a system for individual education plans (IEPs) and a portal project with the goal of stitching all this stuff together (into something Dr. Frankenstein would be proud of).
You could make the case that all these applications contribute to student achievement by making teachers and administrators more efficient. And I wouldn’t argue with that (well, I wouldn’t if everything actually worked).
However, don’t call it “instructional” technology when these systems have little to do with teaching and learning.
* I’m pretty sure he’s kidding about claiming a trademark on these terms. :-)