Ed Tech Should Go Beyond the Classroom

Ed Tech Should Go Beyond the Classroom

Technology literacy has become an increasingly important part of preparing students for academic success in both K-12 and college, but they’re being shortchanged — and so is society — if its applications stop at the classroom, according to an article in Government Technology.

During a webinar hosted by Verizon and Digital Promise, Jennifer Gonzalez, a former educator and founder of the education publication Cult of Pedagogy, said that building knowledge of technology and how it works is a key part of the equation when it comes to imagining how it could streamline school operations or improve instructional design. Teachers and administrators can move away from using tech tools to “do what they’ve always done” and toward “doing things that were never possible,” she said. As an example, she suggested that a marketing department could use AI to craft a narrative to make its social media marketing more attractive to prospective students and philanthropists.

Regarding uses outside of instructional settings, Gonzalez said emerging technologies might assist with projects like surveys and data analytics, identifying areas where more resources and community support are needed to get new initiatives off the ground.

“We can be asking ourselves and our students, what is all of this work actually for, and how does our creativity — all the output from [AI] innovation — actually make an impact on our communities and on the world around us?” she said.

Gonzalez said emerging technologies and AI-driven platforms could help students contribute to addressing real issues in their schools and communities, which could make them better problem-solvers. While she didn’t name specific schools, she said some teachers are already encouraging digital-native students in both K-12 and higher ed to do this.

“[One school] used the screen-casting tool Screencastify to create videos in Spanish, Romanian, Urdu and Mandarin to teach parents how to find student report cards online. This could have been done by district employees, but letting the students take the initiative on a project like this let them see how easily they could create real things that help real people,” she said. “If you have your students write a how-to essay, instead of it just being an essay, it could be turned into an infographic [using content-creation tools] that gets shared somewhere.”

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