Contributor: Jessie Arora, Founder Teacher Square
Using technology to improve education is hardly a new or revolutionary idea. Anyone who has even basic knowledge of the history of education reform knows that there is no technological ‘silver bullet’ that is going to come into our schools and improve teaching and learning for all students. Going back in time to the invention of the television, the speculation was oddly quite similar to statements used to describe the flipped classroom, where this new method of content delivery was going to radically change how we teach.
Yet, somehow the current movement around education technology feels promisingly different. Despite this checkered past, there are several compelling reasons why this current movement to use technology to improve education is building some unique momentum:
- Technology: Current infrastructure (ie. AWS, Rackspace) makes it easier than ever to build a startup and pc/tablet penetration is increasing (there is a 3:1 ratio of kids to computers (on avg)). All this translates to easier access for tool builders to test out hypotheses and for teachers and students to be able to test out new methods
- Talent: 40% of teachers are under 30 years old and feel very comfortable using technology in the classroom
- Common Core is laying the framework to consolidate learning goals & standards across the country (adopted by 45 states already)
- Budget constraints: strapped districts, now more than ever, are looking for tools & systems to help them do more with less
- Data Driven Decision Making: Never before have we had tools that allow us to capture and analyze immense amounts of student data, translating it into meaningful and actionable steps, getting closer and closer to personalized instruction
No time like the present– we need to embrace the sense of urgency to help all students have access to a high quality education.