I attended an EQ seminar yesterday on the implementation of BYOx (Bring your own device) in schools. The seminar provided a forum for over 200 school leaders to voice their thoughts on the implications of this initiative. It was clear there was a majority view that, while it was good to have access to the devices, parents will be wasting their money unless teachers start adapting their pedagogy to use a technology rich learning environment effectively.
The use of digital devices, especially mobile devices, is now a mainstream activity. It is ironic that many teachers will use them extensively in their own personal life but see no role for them in their professional life.
The misconception that you need to be a technical whiz to be good in a 1:1 environment is still out there and with that in the back of their minds, so many teachers are just not bothering to upskill themselves.
Schools can now engage digital learning to supplement traditional ways of teaching and also to open up new and different ways to educate our students. Digital learning can facilitate shared learning experiences. EQ has done amazing things creating communities of learners that extend well beyond the classroom. iConnect Web conferencing and the Learning Place provide the means for students to enter and explore new learning environments and overcome the barriers of distance and time.
Ultimately though, it is all just hardware and widgets until teachers view technology as simply a range of enabling, facilitating, engaging and creating tools that help them achieve better learning outcomes for their students.
Technology-rich learning environments contain both challenges and opportunities for teachers. If schools are going to spend time and resources to ensure they become 1:1 within the next few years, whether it’s using the BYOx model or a collaborative approach, then even more emphasis needs to be placed on upskilling staff in contemporary teaching and learning. The school leaders at the seminar recognised this was a critical requirement.
Now is the time to revitalise EQ’s systematic upskilling in contemporary practice. A two year targeted and focused adoption strategy would be a good thing. Skill the teachers and they will deliver!