With technology in schools nothing has changed. Several years ago, I performed some original research about technology in schools (reference).
While this study occurred in a limited scope with a few school districts and I stated it could not be generalized, the results appear to be similar to what is appearing in popular media today. The results:
(a) educational technology policy formulation focused on collecting the objects of technology, such as computers, modems, networks, and the like, rather than viewing educational technology as a systematic process of achieving goals;
(b) active leadership from a superintendent was essential in each school district, formulation of the plans was more than an empowered committee or executive blessing, and it required active participation by a superintendent;
(c) school districts developed educational technology policies regardless of their financial state;
(d) educational technology policy formulation occurred without regard for student demographics;
(e) applied technology or technology education–including electronics, robotics, video production, industrial technology, and metals technology–was part of educational technology policy formulation in two of the three school districts;
(f) while planning focused on the objects of educational technology, planners took little action on other elements of educational technology planning, such as staff development, finance, evaluation, and school cultural issues;
(g) technology planners did little to communicate aspects of their educational technology plan to their school communities;
(h) educational technology policy was a political process. Whether it was a new superintendent pushing his technology agenda or a teacher influencing a computer purchase, politics were part of the process; and
(i) the planning committees were not representative of the school community.
Looking at today’s social media posts in a very unscientific fashion, nothing has changed:
(a) Today’s social media postings are about buying tablets and the “top 10 apps.” Little in the social media is about students learning and focusing on students. It’s about “buying” and “integrating” — a lost cause.
(b) Leadership is always essential; today it appears to be driven by peer pressure. An executive administrator or a board member attends a conference where a school district reports on an effort of a presenting district and “tada” technology is purchased and expected to be used. Many times the initiatives are way out of context. Yes, leadership is essential, but is largely misplaced.
(c) They continue to plan, but with dwindling funds.
(d) It still happens everywhere. Wish lists are developed, regardless of the school district.
(e) Still part of planning.
(f) Professional development continues to be a challenge as teachers are taught skills, told to integrate, and left to go their way. Usually not successful and not worth the results.
(g) Communication about technology is swamped by NCLB and budget reductions.
(h) It’s one of the most dynamic political processes as teachers and groups work to get the latest techno gizmos.
(i) Planning committees still are composed of techno geeks and not representative of the larger community.
So the cycle continues. Purchasing new hardware and then professional development is focused on integration – not transformation. Teachers continue to teach the same old ways except with new technologies. They no longer focus on “computers, modems, networks, and the like,” but it’s tablets, apps, wifi, white boards, and web 2.0.” Their attitudes and practices around technology in schools remain the same. Nothing has changed. I did not expect that my research was a “game changer,” (another overused word choice to accent the insanity of technology in schools) but I was hoping that a new group of school leaders would emerge that would transform teaching and learning. Well, with technology in schools, nothing has changed.