Technology alone will not transform learning outcomes

The problem with education technology is that it is seen by too many schools as a bolt on and not as an integral part of a student’s experience.

Technology is not a panacea; it needs to be accompanied by a new triad relationship between teachers and students and the technology.

There is a wealth of evidence that demonstrates improvements in educational attainment when pedagogy is adapted to recognise the value of students taking more control of and responsibility for their learning.

These students use technology responsibly, where it is appropriate and where it adds to their knowledge and deepens their understanding, and is available when and where they need it.

It is not the technology, per se, but the way it is used that will add value and increase learning potential. Educational attainment as measured by traditional assessment tools does not consider the way students use technology to further their understanding.

For example, we have seen how video and animation have transformed students’ understanding of concepts that were previously too difficult to grasp through traditional text and still images, yet none of these tools are made available in examinations which still test students using print media, pen and paper.

We need to think about innovation and new methodologies. The use of technology whether in research, data analysis, or media and communications to report and present the output of inquiry-based and collaborative learning has been well documented, and has even become central to this activity.

New approaches to create more open-ended, authentic learning experiences and to drive critical thinking are also being put in place more widely with technology contributing to many of these while the opportunity to advance further with personalised adaptive learning approaches and strong assessment for learning supported by technology is been pioneered in many places.

If we are to truly demonstrate the power of technology to help transform learning outcomes, we need to first understand that technology alone will not make that transformation. What is needed is a new pedagogical model, a curriculum for the age in which we live, and a new model of assessment that recognises and makes use of the value and power of educational technology.


Author: Peter Hamilton
Lead Consultant at EdTech Ventures