Is EdTech an Epic Fail?

First of all, let me start by saying I love tech!  I embrace it and always stay on the lookout for new apps and new devices that can add value to my life, business, and activities.  Many of my friends ask me for ideas on what tech solutions might be a best fit for them.  This is precisely why I am writing this article.  The key to what I do for my friends is finding what tech solutions are a good fit.  The fit I am looking for is that which exists between lifestyle, habits, needs, and solution attributes.

Which brings me to education and edtech.  School staff and faculty often ask me how they can integrate technology into their curriculum and classes.  In some of those cases, they already have the technology purchased and need to know how to integrate it.  Unfortunately, this is often already doomed because the wrong question was asked.  This creates the proverbial problem of putting the cart before the horse.

ipad-schoolThe question we need to be asking is how can we best leverage technology to meet our objectives.  This question is radically different from the one that is most often asked because it suggests that technology is simply the tool driven by the existing objectives of the school.  Not only does this question position schools to enjoy the benefits of technology in alignment with their particular needs, but it also positions edtech entrepreneurs to develop and deliver more effective solutions. Continue reading

Learning Math in Real World Contexts

I was waiting for my pizza at a local pizzeria today and something struck me.  I have been reading Bruno Nardini’s, Portrait of a Master: Leonardo that covers the life of Leonardo Da Vinci.  There was a time in school where he became very unsatisfied with the way subjects were abstractly and vaguely taught.  He wanted something more concrete, something he could put his hands on, much like his personal studies of nature.

In a way, it seemed he wanted to learn with a purpose in mind, perhaps within a more concrete context.  Maybe he wanted to learn in a way that allowed him to see the application of the topic.  It then hit me, I’m often asked by my math clients – why do I need to learn this?  How will I be able to use this?  In a way, they are asking me the same thing Da Vinci might have asked someone of his class work. Continue reading

Adding Value to the Learning Experience

Over the last few days, I have had several discussions about the use of technology in education.  Every time I discuss it, I form my argument around one central question, how can technology enhance the learning experience?  I think it is important to look at it this way versus how technology might make the delivery of education more convenient.

Without doubt an awesome benefit of Kindles and iPads is the ability to carry thousands of books in one device thus saving yourself the back pain of carrying heavy text books.  While that is a great convenience, it is only a small step in the direction toward leveraging technology in education.  In order to truly make the jump to adding value we need to think about how technology will revolutionize education.

In each conversation, e-books came up as a point of discussion.  The way I framed the argument for e-books was with respect to how e-books might help accomplish things a traditional paperback book could not.  I posed the question, how can we leverage e-book technology to do what traditional text books could never do?

Continue reading