Teaching, Technology, and Learning

A Look Behind the Teaching, Technology, and Learning Report

When the OECD report came out last year, I think it made all of us catch our breath. Their report concluded, based on their research, that technology is not having the impact on student learning that we’d all hoped.

After the first flashy headlines ran through the press, some deeper, more interesting insight was revealed. Before anyone drew conclusions, they cautioned, it shouldn’t be seen that all technology in the classroom should be given up. Instead, Andreas Schleicher, the OECD Director for Education and Skills, stated, “This should not be used as an ‘excuse’ not to use technology, but as a spur to finding a more effective approach.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The Teaching, Technology, and Learning Study

As an edtech company devoted to student learning, results, and success, we’ve long believed in the power of technology – not to replace great teachers – but to complement them.

In order to support the educational community to better understand the interconnections between success, technology and teaching/learning practices, we partnered with industry thought leaders to initiate the “Teaching, Technology, and Learning: Understanding the Interconnection” study. Conducted at the start of December 2015 and finishing up in January 2016, the study included over 400 education professionals including educators, specialists, administrators and education IT professionals from 32 countries across the globe.

One of the key findings in it, and here’s where the OECD is right, is that student success relies on great teachers, not on technology. Great teachers will always make a difference in students’ lives. But here’s the thing: great teaching combined with software and hardware results in enhanced student outcomes. The research proves it out.

Teaching, Technology, and Learning Report
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Just look at the top right part of this chart. This quadrant shows the true potential. Those that use teaching best practices and education technology frequently create the best results. You can see from this group that paring best practices with the right combination of technology had outstanding success 38% of the time.

The results on the top left show that excellence in teaching will only take you so far. Great teaching, even with poor or a lack of technology, only gives outstanding success 28% of the time.

Now look at the reverse – on the bottom right. Implementing technology in the absence of pedagogy will result in outstanding or good outcomes only 43% of the time – confirming what OECD mentioned in their report.

And the lowest result of all is to do neither frequently. In fact, schools are more than three times as likely to report outstanding success if classes use both technology and best practices frequently than if they do neither frequently.

In other words, it is an educator who teaches students ways to think, communicate, collaborate, and learn. They instill a lifelong appreciation for asking questions, finding answers, participating, initiating. And while students with a great teacher can certainly succeed, students who have great teachers who complement their teaching with software and hardware find the greatest success. And that success isn’t on standardized test scores and the three R’s. The greatest success is on social and emotional development (the four C’s).

We live in an unprecedented time when information and connection is a keystroke away. One way we know to give students the skills and experiences they need for their future is through technology.

By creating opportunities for students to use software and hardware to connect and communicate with students around the city, the country, and the world, teachers build foundations for their students. By developing projects for students to creatively and collaboratively solve problems, teachers create pathways to using technology effectively in the classroom. It is through this that great teachers provide the kinds of skills and experiences for their students to succeed.

Check the rest of the findings in Teaching, Technology, and Learning for yourself and see the impact that software and hardware, along with great teaching, can have in your classroom.

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Warren Barkley
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About Warren Barkley

Warren Barkley is SMART's Chief Technology Officer. He brings over 19 years of technology experience and leadership. Over the last two years at SMART he has built a world class technology team, created a new product category with SMART kapp, and award winning education SAAS SMART amp. Prior to his current role, he served as General Manager in the Microsoft Lync/Skype division. Barkley held several key positions in Microsoft over his tenure and was instrumental in the development of Microsoft Lync as the communication and collaboration software of choice for Fortune 500 companies. At Microsoft he also played a central role in establishing WiFi as a worldwide standard. Barkley holds over 60 worldwide patents in networking, wireless and communications. Barkley has degrees from University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. Before his technology career Barkley was a teacher and musician.

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