THE Journal published a survey this week showing some surprising (and not so surprising) statistics. 1,300 K-12 educators responded shedding some light on the technology they find valuable in their classrooms. Of note:
- Laptops, Chromebooks and media tablets are the most valuable tools
- Smart watches, mobile phones, desktop computers and interactive whiteboards are the most hated and were actually ranked by many as "detrimental"
Wait....say that again? Interactive whiteboards?!? Hundreds of millions have been spent on interactive whiteboard technology over the past decade fueling the rise of such giant brands as SMART and Promethean. Why are educators wishing they would "die off in the next few years?" Have us audio-visual professionals been getting it wrong? After all, we're the experts and the ones helping to drive the spec and integration of the technology.
In my opinion, it's definitely not our fault. Teachers leverage the tools they are comfortable with and interactive whiteboards represented a pretty significant shift from the traditional chalkboard. If someone doesn't like or feel comfortable with something they aren't going to use it. In fact, many educators teach around the interactive whiteboard, often sideways glaring at it like a dunce in the corner.
Wait, so maybe it is our fault. Isn't part of our job to educate on the technology we integrate? If we haven't created the bubble of safety, how can we expect our tools to be plied effectively? Interactive whiteboards are undoubtedly very effective tools (when used of course) and many AV professionals rely on the integrations to fuel their bottomlines.
So what are we supposed to do? Educate the educators? Perhaps...however, in my opinion the tide has shifted pretty far to start over with a training campaign. One can only eat brussel sprouts so many times before they say, "no thank you, I am pretty sure brussel sprouts taste like dog fart."
When it comes to technology in the classroom, I'm personally banking (literally) on simplification and automation. Yes, we can invest in training--and we should--but we can also implement technology that doesn't require a whole lot of foreign steps to make it work. If someone can't fully use a product, system or solution with two minutes of overview, it's probably too complicated. Automation solves this problem.
And isn't that our job? To integrate solutions that make our customers' lives better? If educators aren't using our technology, we're clearly failing.
You can view the summary of THE Journal survey here, including response summary charts.
TechLogix is laser focused on technology in the classroom. We manufacture complete education kits (that work with interactive whiteboards, of course), automated switchers, audio systems, and other audio-visual solutions.