Wasn't tech supposed to make teaching easier?
Posted December 3rd 2015 by Aaron Price
The sole purpose of technology in our modern world is to make our lives easier. Over the past 20 years, workers in almost every industry have enjoyed far more pleasant and productive careers thanks to improvements in technology. I myself as a radiographer have seen new imaging equipment arrive in my industry that literally produces a far superior outcome with one tenth of the effort.
So why have teacher’s seen an increase in their workload over the same period, where all other industries are making improvements? In a 2013 study by the Australian Council for Educational Research, 58% of secondary teachers felt overworked, and 7% were planning to leave the profession permanently as a result.
These are pretty startling figures considering the classroom educator is the single most important factor in determining educational outcomes. And as we all know educational outcomes are the most important factor in determining future quality of life for anyone.
As an outsider looking in, I've seen both parents (75 years teaching between them) get to the end of their careers and be completely exhausted. I have watched my Cloudschool co-founder, Peter (also a teacher) learn countless “new EdTech solutions”, most of which were great for the learner but all resulted in an increased workload.
So why has EdTech overlooked teachers to this extent?
I believe the focus has been on the wrong area. The focus of edtech is on the 10% of top teachers who write the blogs, who love edtech conferences, who will do absolutely anything to engage the student no matter what it means to their own worklife. This is an amazing way to be and I commend them for it because they truly are the leaders education needs.
But what of the other 90% who are drowning? Who can’t even catch a breath to think about how they can better engage the learner?
The only solution for the majority of teachers is to improve and streamline the core aspects of teaching. These are the things every teacher does on a daily basis - plan lessons, deliver lessons, and assess how they went. No matter what amazing new learning technology comes along, if these core areas of teaching aren't improved, the new tech will be in vain because teachers simply don't have the time or energy for anything additional to their already maxed out workloads.
"I have seen both parents (75 years teaching experience between them) get to the end of their careers and be completely exhausted."
As we have seen time and time again in other industries, if you empower the worker with technology that allows the same result in far less effort, outcomes will naturally improve. In the same way, if educators are empowered by easy-to-use software that makes these core aspects of teaching quicker, simpler, and more pleasant, then better educational outcomes will follow.
These are the reasons that Cloudschool is so passionate about providing free software for teachers around the globe. If teachers can plan and deliver lessons far more quickly and with less effort, then time and energy can be saved for the things that matter most – facilitating learning and helping students grow. And isn’t that the whole point of education?
I’m sure there are some strong views on this topic and I’d love to discuss further with anyone. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts. Thanks!