News & Ideas

Google+ Hangout: Transforming Education with Technology

September 10, 2012

Today I attended a very insightful Google+ Hangout about transforming education with technology.

The focus of the Hangout was to discuss “the opportunities we have to close the opportunity and achievement gaps that exist in education through innovative practices.” More so, I found it to be a very thought-provoking conversation about the use of technology in education, trends in how technology is transforming education, impediments to change and the foundation for a vision of the future.

On the Hangout was:

  • Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education
  • Jaime Casap, Senior Education Evangelist, Google
  • Leslie Fetzer, 2012 SREB/iNACOL National Online Teacher of The Year
  • Courtney Williams, Co-Founder & CEO, Torsh, Inc.
  • Julie Young, President & CEO, Florida Virtual School

Despite the audio issues during the first quarter of the hangout, it’s well worth continuing to listen to because of the insights you will gain.

Below I’ve highlighted some of my take-away points and the youtube version is below in this post:

Transformation in Education through Technology is Inevitable
Education has some catching up to do. It’s inevitable and upon us because businesses have been leading the way for years now. To prepare our students to be successful beyond the schoolhouse, they must be prepared to work in an ever-increasing mobile workforce.

Transformation in Education is Upon Us
Businesses have developed the tools, the costs have come down and many will offer them free to educational institutions. Google Apps for Education is one of them and is rich in easy to use collaboration and communication tools. The price point for businesses is very low and their ease of use, and Google’s good name, is making these tools widespread. Offering them free to Schools is a win-win to schools today. Here are 40 ways to use Google Apps in the Classroom

Other businesses are actively working on new tools with direct application to education. Torsh Inc. is one of them, working to develop a instructional video repository, remote coaching service, best practices video database showcasing exemplary teaching videos and data analytics platform that teachers can review daily to improve their performance.

Benefits of Technology for Education

  • It prepares students for when they leave the school
  • Fun, excitement & efficiency of learning leads to wanting more and more
  • Greater access to education for children with disabilities
  • Greater personalization of instruction
  • Learning goes beyond the walls of the classroom and the school day hours
  • Kids already know to go to Youtube to pick and choose the best instructional videos to learn from
  • Electronic Gradebooks
  • A lot of teachers would have left the field if it weren’t for the ability to teach with & through new technologies. Today, educational technologies are becoming less clunky and looking more like what teachers are use to using in their personal lives so adoption of use is greater

Paths to Transforming Education through Technology

  • We need more Blended Learning Environments
  • Reach out to companies that are offering their products and education apps. Many will give it free to use.
  • Teach students how to learn in a new world. A small % come in who have had the ability to experiment with lots of technology.
  • Rethink regulatory environment of education that may hold back adoption of tools that offer efficiency
  • Chip away at the Digital Divide between who has the tools at school and who has them at home.
  • Schools are typically a top down process, yet technology enables bottom up ideas so its possible that teachers should be empowered to bring in tools.
  • More tablets in the classroom (Google, Apple or Amazon), delivering content directly to students and desktops shared with teachers.
  • Equip new incoming teachers to be more tech-savvy with their coursework so that they can bring it into their classrooms.