Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting the Top 5 EdTech Mistakes by Yong Zhao, Gaoming Zhang, Jing Lei, and Wei Qiu

3. The Wrong Expectation: Technology to Raise Test Scores Versus Technology to Provide Better Education

  • For many, the use of technology is expected to raise standardized test scores. There is no evidence that this has happened. Some districts have even abandoned 1:1 programs as they didn’t raise test scores. It is dangerous to use test scores to guide technology use as high test scores don’t mean high cognitive ability.
  • Technology can allow for digital textbooks that contain hyperlinks and multimedia content. It also allow students and teachers to form personal learning networks and collaborate with others. When each student has a device, they can better meet their individual learning needs and desires. Differentiation become much easier. Various learning styles are easier to address. Learning can be more active and students can be more responsible for their learning.

4. The Wrong Assumption: Technology as Curriculum Versus Digital Competence

  • As more jobs are automated, there has never been a worse time to have ordinary skills. Unfortunately, schools spend too much time teaching ordinary skills. When it comes to technology, it is usually taught as a subject with no context for how it is rapidly changing our world. Students often know more than their teachers and in some cases even provide support.
  • Thanks to social media and mobile devices, people are increasingly combining their online personal life with their real life selves. Students are often learning about the real consequences of virtual behavior the hard way. Some issues include abundant adult content, bullying, contact with strangers, and identity theft. Some commit cyber crimes without realizing it. Students need to learn what technology and people each do best. They need to learn effective searching skills and how to determine the quality of what they find. They should also see an emphasis on creating digital content and using technology to collaborate with others.
  • There is no reason why schools can’t foster creativity instead of killing it. Entrepreneur classes shouldn’t wait for the senior year of college. Schools should also consider the advantages of social media for learning rather than blocking it. Schools should provide a safe place to explore the technology that students will adopt anyway.
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