Pedagogy…that’s a fun word to say, even if you pronounce it wrong.
It means the art, science or profession of teaching.
Webster says you pronounce it “pe-də-ˌgō-jē” unless you’re British.
(Let’s face it, if you’re British, you can pronounce pedagogy any way you want to because your accent sounds cool. As a matter of fact, if you’re British, you sound cool saying lots of silly words so to that end, I’ll throw a few into this post just for the fun of it.)
In any event, pedagogy is on my mind today.
I’ve read three articles today regarding pedagogy. The first was a quick blurb regarding a keynote address for the International Society for Technology in Education conference occurring in Denver this week. The keynote speaker was theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. In this post, Mr. Kaku is quoted as saying it is our duty to prepare our youth for jobs that require creativity, imagination and experience. His presentation highlighted the need for us to plan and prepare now or our children will simply be ill-equipped.
The next two articles I read were from SMART Technologies. CEO Neil Gaydon was a keynote a few months ago for the Education World Forum in which he spoke about the critical role of technology in pedagogy and how the education system as a whole needs to develop long term strategies to ensure efficiencies, return on investments, and greater student outcomes. SMART wrote three blogs inspired by its leader’s keynote address; two of them are below.
Both of SMART’s posts underscore the need to mindfully consider the role technology plays in education and highlight the need to plan and strategize for their procurement, implementation and execution.
(By the way, Mr. Gaydon is from the UK so you know darn well his keynote was fun to listen to!)
Sooooo, here’s my epiphany: We’ve already thrown one spanner in the works; we need to ensure we don’t do it again!
Less than 30% of our classrooms are currently using interactive technology to teach our children; this number hasn’t increased much since the introduction of such into pedagogy nearly 20 years ago. The reasons for lack of adoption are endless: too expensive, too evolving/ever-changing, too difficult to figure out, too specialized, etc.
We’ve lost an entire generation using these excuses!
When are we going to wise up?
It is not our children’s fault that the educational system doesn’t know how to effectively identify the value of technology. Technology, especially emerging, innovative and quality technology, is often deemed dodgy or “too expensive” simply because of its sticker price. Schools and the entities that fund them are willing to invest in astronomically expensive products and services when the cost is broken down “per student” and deemed reasonable. However, they fail to break down the cost of technology in the same manner. Therefore, they struggle with justifying the purchase.
I am confident if the education systems would consider technology just as thoughtfully as they consider capital projects and major expenditures, they would quickly realize that it isn’t nearly as expensive as they think it is. Moreover, unlike other large expenses, technology is an expense that has an immediate and positive direct impact on learning outcomes, which should be well worth the investment!
It is not our children’s fault that technology evolves so quickly it can quickly become obsolete. However, ever-changing technology is not an excuse not to invest and adopt it; in many cases even outdated technology would be more beneficial than none at all. Moreover, it’s often the “new and shiny” objects that reach obsolescence sooner than expected; perhaps the people making the purchasing decisions shouldn’t gravitate to the “shiny” objects and, instead, invest in steadfast standardized items that can adapt and/or scale effectively.
It is not our children’s fault that educators can’t or simply won’t figure out how to use technology. I know teachers get a bad wrap but I still hold fast to this belief: if a teacher is not willing or able to utilize tech in the classroom, we need to strongly consider if he/she is adding value to the system. Shoot, if the tech appears to be difficult or intimidating, I suggest we let the kids play with it for a day or two; they’ll probably be able to show their teacher how to use it in no time.
It is not our children’s fault that someone decided to purchase a product that only had one specific application and, hence, often went unused.
I can understand how frustrating this is! I have been suckered into buying a specific outfit for my teenage daughter, only to see it hang in closet after just one use. This past year, I suggested that she and her friends pool their resources and pull all of these dresses, skirts, coats, shoes, etc. out of their closets and do a big swap. It was magical and you’d be tickled to know they do it about once every other month now!
To that end, perhaps educators could start working together and share resources in their school system. For example, if a school had an interactive flat panel in a room or two, an ideation system in a room or two, a few wireless huddle rooms around the school, etc., its students could benefit from appropriate, specific technology and applications depending upon the subject and/or modality of instruction being used.
I hope you don’t think I’ve lost the plot here, but I do hope you agree we need to consider the points raised above on behalf of our children!
To that end, I echo the bits’n bobs offered by Mr. Kaku and Mr. Gaydon:
School Administrators need effectively plan for the procurement and adoption of technology in pedagogy today in order to better prepare our youth for tomorrow.