I fear this statement gives credence to the idea that as long technology is provided for teachers they will in time figure it out. So how well have teachers done with the time we've had with all this cool technology?
The Alberta Teachers' Association published a research document titled Using Technology to Support Real Learning First in Alberta Schools that provides some insight:
Since the early 1980s, the Government of Alberta, school districts and individual schools have invested more than $1.5 billion in information and communications technology (ICT). The preponderance of this funding has been used to acquire hardware and soft ware and to keep it up to date. Spending on professional development and collaborative inquiry to help educators take advantage of these technologies has been paltry by comparison. Even less time and money have been spent on making the kind of deep cultural changes at the jurisdiction and school levels that are necessary to implement technology in a way that truly enhances student learning.After reviewing the educational policies in place in several countries, it was concluded that most attempts to integrate technology into the classroom take place according to one of four scenarios:
Scenario 1: Policymakers attempt to “shoehorn” technology into the existing regulatory framework governing curriculum and assessment, thereby augmenting the government’s bureaucratic, centralized control over schools.
Scenario 2: Policymakers and educators acknowledge that infusing technology into schools is a complex and uncertain process. To encourage innovation and research at the school level, they relax controls and accountability mechanisms.
Scenario 3: Schools deploy technology as a way of reconceptualizing the curriculum. For example, teachers may use technology to help students understand how their community fits into the global context and what it means to be a responsible citizen.
Scenario 4: Policymakers undertake a series of initiatives to integrate technology into schools, all of which fail. In the end, the teaching–learning process largely reverts to what it was before.Because the education systems in the United States and Canada tend to be very controlling with their persistence for bureaucratic accountability regimes, it should be no surprise that large-scale testing programs and other command-and-control mechanisms tend to narrow curriculum, stifle technological innovation and reduce teaching to little more than an effort to boost test scores. Rather than encouraging teachers to develop innovative instructional practices, such regimes encourage educators to "shoehorn" technology in a way that merely supplements traditional, less-than-optimal teaching and learning practices which ultimately leads the classroom to revert to the way it was before. Scenarios 1 and 4 are the rule while scenarios 2 and 3 are the exceptions.
Let me be clear:
I'm not saying technology is bad just because some people misuse it. We absolutely should utilize the mind-blowing benefits of technology.
I'm not saying we can't talk about technology. We need to talk about technology. To ignore it would be to risk becoming irrelevant to our students.
I am saying that we had better talk pedagogy at least as much as we do technology. Whether we should or should not use technology in the classroom is not the real question anymore (if it ever was); instead, I believe we need to focus intensely on how we should use technology. Sixty years of research tells us that we don't internalize knowledge by simply being told to do so. Real learning is constructed from the inside while interacting with others. While examining technology with a constructivist's lens, we must discriminate between the prolific and poor uses of technology.
To accomplish all this both government and teacher unions/associations will need to devote some serious time, money and expertise to teacher professional development.