One of the ultimate goals of using technology in the classroom is to help students personalize their learning experience as much as possible to meet their individual needs. Many digital devices, various types of software, and types of learning platforms are needed to make this happen.
The combination of the Chromebook and the G Suite for Education (Classroom, Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Hangouts, etc.) has indeed take the K-12 world by storm. Half of all primary and secondary students - some 30 million future postsecondary customers - use Google software and/or hardware in their schools. Why hasn’t Google achieved this sort of traction in higher ed?
Being connected. When we hear it, most of us instantly think of technology. Connecting through technology is important. It gives us a chance to maintain relationships with friends and family who may live far away from us. For those of us in education, it has helped us create relationships with people on-line because they have the same interests in topics like leadership, social-emotional learning, technology or literacy.
In the space of just five years, Google has helped upend the sales methods companies use to place their products in classrooms. It has enlisted teachers and administrators to promote Google’s products to other schools. It has directly reached out to educators to test its products -- effectively bypassing senior district officials. And it has outmaneuvered Apple and Microsoft with a powerful combination of low-cost laptops, called Chromebooks, and free classroom apps.
Despite slow growth in other consumer markets, Futuresource Consulting reports that sales of laptops, tablets and mobile devices in the education sector grew 18 percent year over year from 2015 to 2016, and 2017 is on par for continued growth. These numbers fortify the investment that technology giants like Google and Microsoft have made, reports the press release from Futuresource.
The new Secretary of the Department of Education told an audience of education innovators that she believed the role of technology in education has just begun to "scratch the surface," particularly in bringing "new opportunities" to rural populations.
We've been fooled into thinking our students are tech savvy when they're really text savvy. They're consumers, they're not creators. They have snowed their teachers into believing they know everything about technology and we have believed them. In reality, our students rarely use a device to innovate or iterate, but instead use them as instant gratification machines or to do rote practice or tasks.
Over the last few years, Google Classroom has been an effective tool in helping teachers keep organized, promote collaboration, enable personalization and communicate with students at school and away.
“At best, we’re throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping that it sticks. Except that we don’t even know what it means to stick.” That is how Dr. Robert Pianta, Dean of University of Virginia’s (UVA) Curry School of Education, described the current state of efficacy research in education technology, kicking off two days of discussion, debate and collaboration on the topic.