Ed Tech: one piece of the puzzle

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Technology can facilitate this learning process; it can open up new avenues for learning; it can provide teachers with useful information about their students, and it can point children to lessons geared toward their particular needs. It can do all of this in ways that are clearly superior to other resources or methods of instruction.

But technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. For technology to have an impact on student achievement, schools also need sound teaching, strong leadership, fidelity of use, and a supportive culture, among other things.

In other words, technology can’t improve student outcomes by itself. Instead, it’s one of several elements that must work together in harmony, like a complex dance, to elicit results.

via eschoolnews.com excerpt from the post: On ed tech, we’re asking the wrong question from Sept 21, 2011

This post makes a good point, educational technology is but one piece in a big puzzle that is education. Teaching & learning is complex, with many factors contributing to success.

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Pass/Fail? Mastery? or Grades?

Faculty will often say that they wish they could convince students to stop worrying so much about grades, and to love learning for its own sake. But I think that many students already love to learn, and they are not entirely to blame for their fixation on grades. As long as our society measures intelligence by numbers, by GPAs and scores on standardized tests, students will worry about grades. 

Should universities switch to a pass/fail system? Maybe the question is premature, and what we should really ask ourselves is: are we in need of a wholesale cultural shift in the ways that we measure learning?

This post has some good food for thought. The idea of pass/fail has come up a few times in our Faculty. Do we rely too much on numbers as a measure of learning – I think we do. This is an important philosophical discussion, what is the purpose of assessment? of education? Often students are concerned more with getting a good grade instead of learning and improving. I encourage you to read the entire post and think about learning and assessment.