Educators Gravitate Toward Proven Tech Solutions

The pace at which teachers jump on board with new technology can be detrimental to students, but sometimes the delay is budgetary as available resources must continually be shifted.

by Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel / January 18, 2016 0
SMART Boards are one of the many options available to the New York schools. flickr/Kevin Jarrett

(TNS) — Alan Lynch says the slow pace at which educators jump on board with new technology can be detrimental to students.

But he admitted that the pause is sometimes budgetary, as available resources at school districts must continually be shifted.

"When it comes to school systems and administrators, they look for easy purchases," said Lynch, who heads Orange County Public Schools' tech center. "Things that are already proven. That's why it didn't take long for SMART boards to catch on. It was a variation of a chalkboard."

At an education technology conference in at the Orange County Convention Center this week, educators learned about some of the latest tech changing the classroom and how students learn. The show floor included robots that teach, updated SMART board technology and a video-capture tool that follows a speaker around a room and uploads the video to the Web.

Stephanie Smith says she attended the Future of Education Technology Conference to keep up with her students.

It's a challenge that has increased in today's world of Facebook, Snapchat and other tech that students readily access.

"For them, it's the world they live in," said Smith, who teaches sixth through 12th-grade students in Tallahassee. "It's on us to figure out how to put the technology in their hands and in the classroom."

The next wave of technology in schools, however, will likely be far more out-of-the-ordinary, Lynch said.

Augmented-reality platforms, which use technology to recreate another environment, continue to become more mainstream and move toward mass distribution.

Lynch says that could mean more opportunities for students to learn together via technology that virtually drops them into shared worlds. For example, if all students pop on a headset, perhaps the classroom can slowly overgrow with vegetation, offering a new chance to teach students biology lessons.

©2016 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.