According to the Driving K-12 Innovation report by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the two major obstacles for K-12 innovation are the gap between technology and pedagogy, and the relationship between technology and the future of work.
The Gap Between Technology and Pedagogy
K-12 schools tend to purchase new technology without envisioning how it can enhance student learning. Sometimes, these schools seem to prioritize technology over pedagogy, products over people, and potential over reality. To truly understand how technology can fit into the curriculum, schools must collaborate with teachers and students as well. However, many schools operate with a “silo mentality” and do not adopt the culture of collaboration, resulting in a deviation of focus from student learning.
This gap also exists because there is a disconnect between the needs of the students and the skill set of the teachers. According to a 2018 survey of more than 2,000 K-12 educators by PwC, only 10% of U.S. teachers feel confident teaching higher-level technology skills that are in increasing demand in the workforce. The professional development that teachers currently receive focuses too much on the “how to” and not enough on the “why to” use the technology.
As a solution, schools can operate as an innovation lab where they can innovate on a small scale, evaluate the impact of the technology with applied research, and scaling after identifying the 21st century teaching methods to the piloted technology. Also, offering teachers professional development for the “why” perspective of using technology in the classroom could help them integrate it better into their curriculum.
Technology and the Future of Work
The emerging technology is coming at the world at light speed. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2016 report, we are approaching a Fourth Industrial Revolution. By 2030, workers will spend a majority of their time learning on the job, solving problems, using science and math skills, and critically thinking. This calls for educators to start teaching these skills to students. The technology within the classroom must be utilized to give students a real world experience.
As we enter this Fourth Industrial Revolution era, educators must be thinking about what skills will prepare their students for their future careers. They must also be thinking about how to achieve the development of these skills. Educators should be doing their best to stay ahead of the technological curve.
Before the buying season is upon us, you can use this information to make educated decisions when it comes to adding new products to your line. Which product will be the most effective for teachers? Which products offer professional development? Feel free to discuss in the comments.