The Ed Tech Challenge was developed by more than 20 Google Certified Teachers, Trainers, and ISTE awardees in spring 2013. The main components of the Ed Tech Challenge are:
- A technology integration survey that gives teachers an individualized report on their current comfort level with the ISTE-NETS, personalized learning elements, and digital age work
- A self-paced course that includes six units of online tutorials that focus on increasing efficiency/effectiveness of teaching practices
- A classroom website template for classrooms that districts can customize
- A personalized learning plan template for educators that districts can customize
One of the panelists, Caroline D. Haebig, led the discussion. She began by reflecting on her teaching experience and recalling a circumstance that forced her to realize that she was using technology as a replacement for really, really good teaching.
“Technology is just a tool. And a tool is anything used to achieve an end. That’s it. And, sometimes I feel like we get away from that when we tell a story about education technology and engaging kids, because really good teachers engage kids. And quite frankly, a pencil is technology. It’s just we have more elaborate and better technologies than we have ever had before. That’s a story that I don’t think is getting told nearly enough,” said Haebig. “So, businesses use newer tools to perform that operation more efficiently or more effectively. And the big question is: Are my students learning? And after that, can I be more efficient? And, can I be more effective?”
Modelling Business’ attitude toward technology, the Ed Tech Challenge team agreed on the following vision for technology in education:
Technology does not engage students; great lessons engage students. Technology should only be used when it increases efficiency or effectiveness.
The group then developed a framework to build systematic adoption of technology to support and develop personalized learning environments.
- Digital age concepts that can improve efficiency and effectiveness include collaboration tools, content management systems, personal learning networks, formative response tools, open educational resources, and electronic portfolios
- Instructional technology expectation must be driven by instructional experts
- Technology services must be aligned with instructional goals and district needs
- To support adoption by teachers, administrators must model how to use technology effectively.
They also developed a MOOC—which can be found at www.edtechchallenge.com. The MOOC is self-paced, scaffolded, and openly accessible (Creative Commons License). The curriculum for the course addresses the NETS for Teachers and personalized learning elements and includes an initial survey that allows teachers to self-reflect on their current uses of technology in the classroom. The MOOC is structured in such a way that districts can use it to easily provide personalized, challenge-based, blended learning professional development to teachers.