The promise of Technology delivering a superior Education. There was an interesting article in the Harvard Business Review about Educators and their ability to procure quality technology. As educators we have seen first hand how the product that we thought was so great a few years ago is now outdated. Technology holds great promise for the future but public school districts are far behind in implementing quality technology into their programs. Charter schools have had much more success with the implementation of new technology. This is not because educators do not have access to sophisticated and innovative solutions. It is because they tend to be bad consumers and buy equipment that is popular or sold by vendors they are familiar with.
Education foundations are also limited because they tend to fund projects instead of products. Foundations tend to fund the end user and not the entrepreneur that develops the product. In many cases we find that the original equipment cannot be upgraded because of cost or no knows how to reprogram the system. The hardware lacks compatibility with existing equipment. Again we find that charter schools lead the way and public schools can learn from their example.
For example, a smart young entrepreneur from Boston developed a software program called Better Lesson. This allows all KIPP charter school teachers nationwide to collaborate and share lesson plans. This is a great way to enhance teacher performance, because when you incorporate great lesson plans you become a better teacher. Achievement First, another charter school, had a similar story to tell. They originally built a software system so they could analyze student data instead of performing the task manually. Better organized data lead to greater student performance. Achievement First originally contracted with a local software vendor and the solution worked at least in the beginning. However, future upgrades were tedious and modifications were difficult. They eventually contracted with Wireless Generation for their future software versions and this relationship addressed those earlier deficiencies.
The winning combination for the future is to combine the best practitioners (teachers) with some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the field of technology and software development. Future technology solutions should include a vision where software is easily upgradeable and will integrate well with other products.
Technology when properly implemented holds great promise for both student and teacher.
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