Um. Ed Tech in the classroom ain’t new.

Rolled into work this morning.  End of semester one, teachers are getting it all wrapped up and gearing up for semester two.  So I took a glance at tweetdeck and found out that Ed Tech in the classroom ain’t new (great article from Education Rickshaw). Not at all. Allow me to share and elaborate.

Here’s Skinner’s teaching machine from the 1920s. “The instructional potential of the teaching machine stemmed from several factors: it provided automatic, immediate and regular reinforcement without the use of aversive control; the material presented was coherent, yet varied and novel; the pace of learning could be adjusted to suit the individual. As a result, students were interested, attentive, and learned efficiently by producing the desired behavior, “learning by doing”.


So why didn’t it take off?  Why isn’t this very attractive box sitting in every classroom?  My guess is because it wasn’t about the machine.  Even almost 100 years ago.  It’s still about the teacher.  Was then.  Is now.  Will be tomorrow.

Here’s a graph.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 7.53.49 AM.png

If you know about John Hattie’s work, this graph will make sense.  Basically anything north of the .40 hinge point is significant.  Collective Teacher Efficacy, for example is usually number one or two in impact.  Recently scored a whopping 1.57 in effect size.  That big time significant.  But what about technology?  In and of itself?  Not huge.  Dr. Sonny Magana reports that the 50 year average impact of technology is .34.  He says, “Perhaps the main reason for this disappointing impact is that the inclusion of technologies has done little to change the “tell and practice” approach to teaching and learning — the predominant pedagogical practice of our time. In this model, teachers tell students what knowledge is and what knowledge is worth knowing; students meanwhile invest their vast capacity for creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration by memorizing and practicing what they were told. The overarching goal of this model is simply for students to accurately repeat the information they were told.”  He continues, “If the tell and practice model of schooling does not change, then we should expect the same meager impact of new and emerging technologies on instructional quality and student achievement for the next 50 years or more. That is clearly not a desired destination.”

However…throw in a teacher and a framework for learning, and the effect size jumps to 1.6. Dr. Magana sets forward the T3 framework as a way to look at technology and learning. Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 8.02.16 AM.png

Teachers + Technology + Framework = 1.6

Ed Tech in the classroom ain’t new.  It wasn’t about the device then.  It ain’t now.  It’s what a great teacher does with it.


Author: Jnelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years.

3 thoughts on “Um. Ed Tech in the classroom ain’t new.”

    1. Absolutely, sorry about that. I had a link using the words ‘not at all’. When I revisited the post last, that link was not working. I updated with a link and credit to Education Rickshaw. Thanks for a great resource!

      Liked by 1 person

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