Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Every Kid Needs a Champion"

I was immediately disheartened when this headline caught my eye:

But with a thorough read of the article linked, I discovered that while the headline erroneously blamed educational technology for growing achievement gaps, the article itself clearly described the value of human interaction in complement to educational technology access. The academic technology did not impede nor damage outcomes for either group. It was the lack (or presence) of human engagement that should have been highlighted as the key difference in learning outcomes for the learner groups being discussed.

More and more often, we find research like this that supports the importance of human relationships with instructors, mentors and peers in supporting teaching and learning with technology. So many institutions believe in blind faith that merely acquiring technology will shift learning outcomes. But those who have tried that approach and been left with unchanged or declining outcomes are left scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong.

Simply put: to be successfully implemented, academic technology must be used to enhance engagement, not replace it. Just ask Rita Pierson, TED-talker who asserts in this talk that, "Every kid needs a champion." For those of us in higher education, that applies to every learner, regardless of age.

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