A recent post on the role of technology in education made me take another look at our approach here at RobotsLAB. The post discussed three “myths” the writer found prevalent: myth 1 was that educational technology “was all about disruption;” myth 2 was that it was “all about the classroom;” and myth 3 claims “It’s all about...well...technology.”
Myth 1, says the post author, results from the tendency to over-hype the potential educational gains from new tech; people expect an entirely new educational environment. This leads, says the author, to a failure on the part of educators to incorporate the new tech with the existing system which usually leads to failure and increased skepticism by these same educators of subsequent new tech arrivals. The answer, says the author is not to view new tech as disruptive but as a tool to improve present practices.
At RobotsLAB we believe our products are “hyped” as doing exactly that: improving present practices. Our BOX, for example, doesn’t attempt to fundamentally change the study of math, but only to make it more engaging for students. It allows teachers to present their own interpretation while displaying the algorithms at work in the real world.
As for myth 2, the belief that new edtech is “all about the classroom” when there is actually a great deal of very important software for more administrative requirements, we are willing to admit that RobotsLAB’s products are indeed “all about the classroom.” Our products are developed with teachers teaching students in mind rather than software helping administrators with hiring, teacher development and data storage. We make no apologies for that, although in the future we may decide to develop more administratively directed products.
Myth 3 says that some believe that technology is an end all unto itself. We at RobotsLAB don’t even begin to believe that! We think our robotic products are wonderful tools, but only in the hands of committed and trained teachers. We are well aware of the studies that have shown that the teacher is still the most important “school-based factor” for student achievement.