Can Technology Change Education? Yes!: Raj Dhingra at TEDxBend



Thank You Molly can technology change education I like you guys already so this is an image from the late 60s of a CDC Plateau and for some of you that may recognize that it's one of the first computer assisted learning systems that ran on a mainframe and it was delivering about 20 lessons on a mainframe so big idea but perhaps not so big impact so certainly technology has changed tremendously in the last 50 plus years and there have been many initiatives that have tried to use technology to change education some very visible like the One Laptop Per child but most would believe that technology has failed to meet some of the expectations I firmly believe that technology can transform learning I really believe it can I do know that there are a few myths and a few barriers about what it might take to change education my talk is about real life stories where technology has advanced education my talk is about three inspiring stories and three lessons where amazing people with big dreams have pioneered change and also about three lessons that we can take from these stories and apply them in our own backyards and in our communities but first I want to show you something so take a piece of paper you might have one and just draw two dots I do this before backstage but you can do it now and we've learned in geometry that the shortest distance between two dots is a straight line now of course you know I have a different answer here right so what you can do is when you bend the rules you bend the piece of paper the dots are now actually touching each other and the shortest distance between these two dots is when you touch them together right so that's the metaphor for my stories when you change the thinking you can change the rules we can change the solution now maybe you were expecting a magic sleight of hand so I didn't get the applause a magician right but I call this the magic of thinking right so I think it's an amazing way to say when we change our thinking we can actually change the solution so one of the popular myths is that big dreams need big budgets you know 50 years ago the big dream was let's put a man on the moon and certainly we spent a lot of money getting a man on the moon and that sort of conditions are thinking about big dreams need big budgets we certainly see that in the media everyday but in the same context of the space program here's the story of Apollo 13 where we had three astronauts Jim Lowe Jack Swigert and Fred hi-c on another mission to the moon but an equipment malfunction created a crisis and came the message from the ship houston we have a problem now all the money in the world and all the resources in the world could not reach out to these three men in space the situation that was created was work with what you have and necessity created innovation and these three men were able to return safely back to earth and there's a common analogy there to many the solution around education could be more spending and I'm here to share with you a story that says it's not about all about increased spending and I've looked at quite a few amounts of data a lot of surveys and the one I grabbed here for you is a survey that talks about education spending in K through 12 on a per student basis and the survey includes educational spending from about 25 plus country and somewhere at the top we have the United States where we spend about ten thousand dollars or more per student per year and at the bottom of the chart and I know it's an eye chart is not easy to see is Turkey the country of Turkey and they spent just over about a thousand dollars a year per student per year and for the people that say well you know the dollars are different well it's actually also represented as a percentage of GDP right so we're trying to make sure that you know purchasing power and currencies don't really necessarily are you know are changing what the data might be so the myth is you know spending is the answer and we all know and I'm not here to suggest that we should not spend more but the story I'd like to sort of share with you is the story that comes from Turkey and it's an amazing story so let's play the video please so I think this Firefly project the mobile learning unit project in Turkey actually teaches a valuable lesson and a great insight and that is technology can change how we do school so more than 1.6 million children that are getting access to learning that didn't have access to learning before and that's being transformed because of technology so what it teaches me is you can actually dream big and make a big impact even me don't have a lot of money I think that's the lesson away from here so you can't achieve a lot with small amounts of money if you think carefully how to spend it the second myth I want to talk about is the myth that perhaps we already have technology in our schools we have computers in our schools we don't have a problem we have some computers in a classroom we may have some computers in computer labs now in my own backyard in Silicon Valley I see that's not the case I see the traditional classroom I see the four walls of a classroom I see the teacher at the head of the class the stage of the stage and instructions being delivered in a very standard way to students so I believe that even in today's world we're pretty much delivering and learning just like we did when we didn't have computers because nothing really much has changed and what's needed is we have to tear down the walls we have to tear down the walls of the classroom and we can make that possible with technology where we can use blended learning to deliver a mix of different types of learning to kids and I have the story from this small School District in Moraga California there's three Elementary School's one middle school and moraga School District worked with their budget they didn't have a lot of it they work with their budget and they look for low-cost computing technologies and they were able to get them deployed so you could create a one-to-one learning environment and that learning environment both teachers and students work together and in my opinion blended learning is where you get to boast the best of both teachers and technology and just look at these images we've got children doing customized learning they can actually learn what they want to learn they can learn at their own pace you can see much better collaboration between kids you can also see a much higher engagement and certainly I think kids today are much more tuned into using technology so by using technology you can transform the learning in the classroom especially when you go for one-to-one now teachers some of them feel that technology may D personalize the learning experience but what we have found is actually almost the opposite that it immensely personalizes the teaching experience and a teacher can go from being the sage at the stage to a guide by the side right you can actually transform the role of the teacher to become a coach working closely with students as they need help they can really reconnect with their main purpose of being learning masters and not necessarily worry about being content masters so technology can really change how we do school as we start to integrate technology into the into the school into the classroom not just in a supplementary lab that kids might see maybe 30 minutes a week or 30 minutes a day and so the second lesson that I have learned is technology can change how we do school and one of the ways you can do that is if you integrate technology into the classroom not just as a supplementary thing and when you focus on the student not necessarily just on the teachers when you focus on the students and you look at student centric learning make more options available the students are more engaged and the teachers role is transform and it turns out to be actually better for both so you can really unlock the power of student-centered learning with technology the third myth I want to talk about is you know people may believe if only I had this great widget this great technology then it would solve everything and that usually ends up leading this mistake which I call the hunger for tech candy right we all like candy and we see this great candy and you know maybe a few years ago it was netbooks then it was IMAX then it was maybe some kind of you know ultra book or a laptop or iPads and you know clearly these are great technologies right they actually serve a great purpose but they turn out to be sometimes either very expensive or possibly hard to scale and that's what I want us to think about is it's not that I'm suggesting we should not have experimentation we should not have innovation I think what I'm suggesting is that we've got to think about how we can put the tech candy on a diet but really focus on making this available to many rather than a few so what are the things that will matter when I take a look at some kind of technology I can actually enable broad access so my third story to you is about the Richmond City School District in Virginia this is a school district that has 55 sites and about 25,000 students 33 percent of the students in this school district are living below the poverty level right they you know a lot of the spending that the school may get is actually channel to help provide you know nutritious nutritional meals to the kids so there's not a lot of money left over for other things it also turns out that most of the kids don't have access to computers or technology at home so two people at the school district Covanta gardner and cassandra harris they work in IT and they really felt that the current situation was not tenable they had one or two computer labs and maybe a few computers in the classroom they really wanted to get more computing in front of kids so they would have more access but they could not afford to buy PCs so they looked at some low-cost computing technologies and there are quite a few different options out there and they decided to make them more available more pervasive so they were able to double the number of more than double the number of computer labs they were actually able to bring computing in technology in the classroom and start to make a difference and what happened is as a result kids now had more access to get different kinds of learning available to them they had more ability to learn together with their with their peers with their with it with their other classmates teachers were more integrated into that environment and they were able to help more it was also possible for kids to learn how to better you know run through an assessment so a variety of changes led to just an overall better learning environment but also creating an environment of better achievement and that was made possible because Cassandra and Covanta thought about 3rd key lesson which is how do we deliver our this technology to and provide more access to many rather than a few so those are the three lessons that I would like to share with you when I think about technology in the classroom and technology and education I see a much broader purpose a purpose of universal connectivity let me explain what I mean by that and I'll do that with an analogy in 1825 Louis Braille divides the Braille system before 1825 the blind and the visually impaired did not have access to the vast amounts of books and written knowledge after this was devised suddenly the Braille system opened up a whole world of content information available so blind and visually impaired people could actually learn by themselves and be free and I see technology can play in a similar way a very similar role by making connectivity possible and make that connectivity possible to all these growing open learning resources that are out there in the world today and they're growing by the day and this is which will allow kids to basically learn anytime anywhere whether they may be a kid in Bend Oregon or a kid in Hong Kong or kid in London so three stories three lessons so what we do I believe that each one of you can make a big difference the question is how at NComputing we are creating a community website this website has more than 30 stories we are working with more than 30,000 technology-enabled schools around the world and we want you to do each one of you is to come and learn whether you're a parent whether you're a teacher whether you're an administrator we want you to come and learn then we want you to come and share what you have learned and what might have been learned by a teacher let's say in Zambia could be applied in a school district somewhere else in the US or somewhere else around the world so what's working what's not working that can be shared and the community will actually thrive on that and then finally as we learn as we share we can now bring the change back into our communities and ultimately do what we all want to do which is make learning better for our children thank you

38 thoughts on “Can Technology Change Education? Yes!: Raj Dhingra at TEDxBend

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  2. This talk was back in 2012 so the ideas seem very out-of-date now especially it's in terms of technology. I don't remember much about what the technology had done in 2012 to assist education but what he presented in this talk was something back then. Technology shorted the distance between the dots, presenting content and educational resources to students and making it easier to learn. Moreover, because of its originality it did get more engagement from the students. Nowadays new technologies are booming but not so much is the pedagogy in the technological settings. I think the real challenge at present is how to achieve an effective learning with technology and how to assess the learning.

  3. Everything is just really vague. He is speaking on very good content, however, it is to "connected" to GDP and spending. I understand the whole, "work with what you have" message, but that message gets lost in what it a lot of random information.

    I am not hearing the answer to his question, "Can technology change education?". Again, more of a "technology vs. cost" not answering his title posed question.

  4. would have been better if he would have spoken in his own accent rather than faking and speak bold instead of being nervous 🙂

  5. We have tried the 'Department of Education', a government run disaster! Now, it's time to abolish the 'Department of Education' and put a committee of 12 people on this problem and pick the best 12 on the planet to work on this team. We can save a lot of money by getting rid of the 'Department of Education' and paying 12 people a lavish salary to solve the problems and help all kids learn at their maximum rate! The world of tomorrow needs the best ideas today! Let's not waste time in putting the best ideas to work, NOW!

  6. I would disagree with his use of personalization (in the sense technology not being personal)–his use is more of individualized learning–there is a difference. To be personal is to deal one-to-one with a person (i.e. there actually has to be a "person" involved). The example he uses is more of individualized learning continuum that is tailored to the learner. If we are talking about technology being less personal, then yes, it definitely is less about person-to-person interaction since it is only interaction with one person and a device. To have connection to more persons via technology is one thing, but that is not the application here (and how deep are the connections?). Science has proven that playing video games and online activity in children & teens decreases memory; search engine use decreases ability to recall information (no practice in this skill if you can simply look it up); video games and online activity decreases emotional intelligence & social skills; and technology in general decreases opportunities for developing imagination and the ability to read or think deeply. However, having collaborative activities using technology is socially different from individual activities involving technology and the Internet.

  7. Hi fellow teachers. I am looking to have three teachers answer these questions. Any takers?

    Teacher Interview Questions:

    How much of a priority is it for you to teach your students how to use the technology that you integrate into your class lessons?

    What are your main sources for discovering the latest in educational technologies?

    What have you found to be the best ways to assess the effectiveness of an integrated educational technology?

    On a scale of 1-10, how effective do you believe your school is in the area of teaching digital literacy? What steps would you suggest for your school that may increase your school a few points on the scale?

    How do the teachers and administrators who take the lead in the use of technology in the classrooms share their experiences, ideas, and knowledge with other teachers?

    What has been the most effective piece of technology that you currently use to create authentic learning experiences for your students?

    How have recent education technologies been integrated into your assessments?

    How has edu. technologies made a difference in the differentiation of your instruction, content, and assessments for various learners?

    How have you noticed students using available technology to support their learning process?

  8. I never heard the answer to "Can technology change education". I know it can. But I didn't hear him answer that.

  9. I started taking these classes in 2014 and I didn't really know how to do very much on a computer and have to learn about new technology's on my own. It will be great to be able to do new thing that I have never done before

  10. I was expecting him to use more…… educational technology in an educational lecture about using technology to educate. xD Still, not a bad talk, albeit not very deep.

  11. These videos are very useful to teacher training on student centred telearning in higher education

  12. Raj Dhingra makes so many good points, especially that we need to change the thinking around Education Technology.

  13. I believe that technology can enhance the learning experience in an integrative way. I believe that understanding the principles behind technology and how we apply those in the classroom setting can help students learn.

  14. Antagonist: Not all families are going to have access to technology so they shouldn't use it for homework. If they aren't using it for homework, they should not use it in the classroom. It won't be helpful when they want to go home and play on technology if some don't have access to any. Might I also add that teachers must be trained how to use this technology to teach their students which takes up a lot of time to keep their computer skills up to par which takes away from them being able to learn about their subject areas that they need to focus on. Another point is that equipping a classroom with technology is very costly. All of the classrooms would need it if it is used in one classroom. Supplying everyone with it is a lot of money down the drain. They need to be maintained and upgraded with software also. There is a lot that goes into computers, not just using it as a resource. 

  15. Interrogator- What would you suggest to schools that don't have the money to have SmartBoards in every classroom?  When budgets are already so low how would you convince your school district that technology is imperative? 

  16. Antagonist: Teaching a math lesson and using technology to help the teacher might make it more complicated for the student. They might be too focused on the technology rather than the material being taught. They might focus on how the teacher is operating the SmartBoard or something else. Teachers can also be overusing the technology. It should not be used as the main source of teaching. Also, students today think of technology as playing games, and not a source for learning. They would have to be taught other reasons for using it before the teacher implements them in the class.

  17. Interrogator- But these students doing math on a SmartBoard isn't something they can take home and do. Often times homework is a page from the workbook or a worksheet. I don't think students are being set up for 100% success if they are learning new lessons on something they can't practice at home. how would you address this problem in your classroom? 

  18. Antagonist: I feel that the world is using so much technology that students need to learn not to be so reliant on it. I am so reliant on my phone looking at Instagram and Twitter, but that's not the point. Students need to learn that there are other ways of finding out information and being successful without the use of technology. I understand that they need to prepare for the real world, but truly, I think that they need to learn not to become dependent on using it. I agree with Alicia that a lot of time of the school day is going to be put to the teaching of technology which wastes a lot of learning on more important subjects. 

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