The advances of the digital era have touched nearly every aspect of modern life. So many industries have been disrupted by new IT technologies to the point that they are almost unrecognizable.
So what’s next for the digital revolution? More and more, experts are looking at how new technology might change the face of education. But ideas on how to bring technology into the classroom and have it translate into meaningful improvements, all while avoiding student distraction and information overload, remains a hotly contested topic.
According to Scott McLeod, disruptive education doesn’t have to disrupt the quest for quality education. In his role as Director of Learning, Teaching and Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, McLeod has come to understand the intersection between school leadership and digital learning technology. He thinks we are just seeing the beginning of the digital education revolution.
“Most classroom teachers are integrating digital learning tools in ways that primarily replicate traditional analog pedagogies. The number of educators in any educational system that are using digital technologies and online environments in more transformative ways is relatively low. So right now we rarely see significant changes to the education ecosystem as a result of our technology investments.”
In order to see more meaningful change in the educational space, McLeod believes that we need to do a better job of helping and resourcing school principles and superintendents. For systemic changes to take place, administration has to spearhead new innovation.
McLeod also asserts that one of the most important aspects of the digital revolution is the power new technology has in connecting educators. As teachers and administrators see how technology has been applied successfully, they will be able to integrate these techniques into their own classrooms.
“We see a growing number of educators realize that their best professional learning occurs when they venture out of their local, geographically-conscribed circles of practice into more informal, online, global communities of role-alike peers. The more that we can get excellent educators worldwide in front of local classroom practitioners, the greater likelihood there is of innovation and change to the current model of schooling.”
It’s hard to overstate the impact that new technology has on our lives. Already, remote work has caused us to rethink ideas of the office as a strictly physical space. Soon enough, the same technological tools may change the face of education.
In fact, according to McLeod, it won’t be long before both students and parents begin to realize “learning doesn’t have to happen at a specific geographic location…nor does it have to happen in same-age cohorts who move at a fixed pace along a fixed path.” The educational environment of the future may allow students and parents far more freedom and flexibility in choosing their educational paths.
About Scott McLeod:
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues. After a 4 year hiatus to serve as the Director of Learning, Teaching, and Innovation for Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Iowa, Dr. McLeod is returning to university life this August as an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Colorado-Denver. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). Dr. McLeod has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, the National School Boards Association and the Center for Digital Education. In 2016, he received the Award for Outstanding Leadership from the International Society for Technology in Education. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at regional, state, national and international conferences. He also is the co-editor of the book, What School Leaders Need to Know About Digital Technologies and Social Media.
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