"RE@L Thought for the Week!" - "EdTech Minus Teachers? or EdTech Plus Teachers?"

RE@L-logo_Corp_TM_New-Tag_8-15-17_CMYK-300x127EdTech has been around for almost 50 years in classrooms everywhere. Computers were worming their way into the business world everywhere. Why not the K12 educational world, too? The answer to that vexing question is still being sought.

636385957360369848-The-JetsonsThe classroom computer back then made most teachers highly uncomfortable. The computer gurus saw it differently: After all, if the Jetsons TV show back then had a computerized robo-maid named Hilda, why couldn’t kids in school have a computerized teacher?

Teaching isn’t rocket science, they thought. Well, it turns out that it ‘s close. And in more ways than one. And it needs to be taught to the teachers first. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

Classrooms everywhere were changing in the 60′s. Desks were no longer bolted to the floor. Inkwells were gone. Chalkboards were being replaced by overhead projectors. And, computers were being designed to help deliver instruction to young learners everywhere.

Teachers began to wonder, “Am I obsolete? Will a computer replace me?” A whole lotta shaking and worrying was going on at the teacher’s desk.

The futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, whose screenplay brought us the sci-fi classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, gave us this quote:

Unknown-1 “Teachers who can be replaced by a machine should be.” 

Futurist David Thornburg later took it a bit closer to home: “Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be.”

So, stop worrying, teachers…computers and iPads are just a tool. You are the one  who is still in charge of teaching and using the tools that go with it these days. But, like your students you teach, you need to learn more, too.

Unknown-2Today, schools and districts everywhere are putting computers and mobile devices into virtually every learner’s hands in every classroom in America. So, why aren’t we seeing signfiicant improvement in teaching and learning, you ask?

The answer is: Far too few schools and districts provide adequate teacher-training and support to use these new EdTech tools effectively. If the teachers haven’t been taught how to use them effectively, how can the students use them?

So, let’s help teach the teachers. Give them these new EdTech teaching tools, but make sure they also get the needed training: resources, lesson planning ideas, quizzes and project ideas to insure greater student learning and mastery.

That’s what we at RE@L are doing to make this change happen! We are creating new EdTech tools that insure more real-world learning. Our new software product, now being tested, will soon be on the market. RE@L wants those tech tools tweaked and ready to use in their classrooms and team-rooms.

The sky’s no longer the limit. Only our imagination is the limit!

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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.