Rob Boriskin has had success flipping the classroom in the very practical area of ceramics. He has had increased enrollments, increased student satisfaction and increased levels of skill development with students. The computer and technology are simply one part of their changed teaching and learning paradigm. Note that it is a teaching and learning paradigm that has changed; the technology is simply an enabler of this change.

There are also examples of teachers who don’t really embrace the change and “have a go at this laptop thing.” They don’t get improvements and thus find disadvantages. This doesn’t prove the technology “doesn’t work.” It is no different to the friend who joins a gym to get fit, but complains a lot and doesn’t take the time to learn how to use the equipment properly, doesn’t follow through with the advice of their trainer, and eventually gives up because it hurts and is inconvenient. Yet nobody would imply that gyms aren’t effective for body building and fitness.

Six main components

During the past year, I’ve identified six main areas that need to change in order for organization-wide success to occur. These are

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Organisational leadership
  3. Mindset
  4. Staffing
  5. Professional development
  6. Flexible learning spaces

The articles that outline these areas are available from the links provided.

Laptops are one sixth of the first component — infrastructure; one of more than thirty key aspects in all. Yet some would expect that it is the definitive measure for success. Really?

Big picture learning

Looking at laptops and infrastructure alone as drivers of academic change is simplistic. It shows a lack of understanding of the big picture and the changes that must occur in the entire learning ecosystem for academic results to improve.

It is about time we, as educators, looked deeper and had more sophisticated conversations about technology in education. This is the biggest shift in education in over one hundred years. It deserves more considered attention. Failure to do this would leave education as the only industry that does not need to evolve to harness the benefits of technology. Do we really believe that this is likely?

About the Author:

Peter West is Director of eLearning at Saint Stephen’s College in Australia. He has over 15 years’ experience leading K12 schools in technology enhanced education, particularly blended learning using online learning environments.