Botswana Research notes
This morning I administered a survey to a class of about 100 students. While waiting for the students to finish, the professor and I had a discussion about technology in education, focusing specifically on the use of mobile devices. His comments on classroom management and the metaphor of a fast car stuck with me.
On classroom management
As we walked up and down the lecture hall, the professor pointed out students that have earphones in their ears and said ‘look, when I walk by them I can actually hear the music’.
As I work with teachers and visit schools/university classrooms, I am convinced that teachers are not afraid of technology or mobile devices specifically in the classroom. They are concerned with how to manage a class with the potential distractions that the technology brings. We have to do a better job of balancing the fear of technology and legitimate concerns that a teacher has about disruption – especially in a class of over 100 students. If those of us in edTech want emerging technologies to be adopted and have impact we are going to have to address issues of pedagogy but also provide ways for teachers to address disruptive occurrence other than simply saying….‘well, you just have to manage the class better’ or relying on the old cliché of ‘a good teacher is a good teacher regardless of the technology’. We must ensure that the research done in this area makes its way to practice.
“We’ve built a car with no brakes”
This for me was a nice metaphor for mobile devices in education because it is an admission of the learning benefits & potentials, but also a caution of the consideration that we need to have. In this quote, the lecturer was explaining how he believes that technology is great in school and that mobile devices offer many possibilities that can benefit learners, but in the current form it is like a “fast car” with out breaks. Students come with the devices but neither they nor the teacher necessarily know of how to incorporate the devices into classroom activities.