So much has been written and posted in education news outlets concerning the use of technology in North Carolina over the years.
- Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest has touted that every classroom in North Carolina is now hooked up to high speed broadband. (Makes one wonder if he supports doing that for every household in NC).
- Mark Johnson bragged about purchasing iPads for teachers with magically appearing money.
- Former Gov. Bev Perdue even had an interview with EdNC.org in 2018 about the use of technology in the classroom.
That use of technology and the conversation surrounding it has only grown with the pandemic and the closing of physical school buildings and the use of remote learning.
Yes, technology is important. And investing in technology is important. In fact, investing in making sure that we upgrade routinely in technology is important.
But the best “technology” in education is the highly supported teacher. From Richard Gerver of EdSurge on December 24th, 2018:
In 2013, I had the opportunity to discuss the future of education with Eric Schmidt, who was then the executive chairman of Google. I was keen to find out his take: Would technology ever replace the teacher? At that time, this question was being debated throughout the education world. We had seen two decades of technological revolution in schools, starting with desktop computers, then networks, laptops, interactive whiteboard boards and on and on it went…
His answer to me was immediate and unequivocal. “No,” he said. “Never.”
He went on to explain that whilst technology was incredible, more than just a catalyst for change, it shouldn’t and wouldn’t ever replace teachers. Why? And why, especially, would one of the world’s foremost technology leaders believe this? Because, in his words, “Education, is, at its heart, about the development of human beings. To do that, you will always need high levels of human interaction.”
Before the pandemic, schools in my district used Chromebooks. Students were already put into Google Classrooms to collaborate. Papers and presentations came to my inbox via Google Docs and Google Slides. In fact, Google has more “free” applications” that are useful in the classroom when there is no emergency situation as we have now.
And its executive chair said, “Education, is, at its heart, about the development of human beings. To do that, you will always need high levels of human interaction.”
In over twenty years in a public school classroom in both rural and urban settings, I have seen curriculum changes, NCLB, RttT, EOC’s, EOG’s, AYP’s, and countless other standardized tests plus a countless flux in how teacher effectiveness and student achievement are measured.
The only constant is the student / teacher relationship.
It is about people – the best technology a classroom can have.