Throwing an ICT4D BRCK at Hard Education Problems
October 7, 2015 Editor 0
Congratulations to BRCK on their launch of BRCK Education yesterday. The Kio Kit is certainly a very cool hardware solution that has key innovations for educational use. I particularly like wireless charging of the Kio tablets in a customized Pelican case.
However, I would like to caution the BRCK team on getting too far ahead of themselves on how revolutionary their approach is. Those of us in the ICT4Education space have seen this show before and we know how this story often ends. Time and time again, here are the three acts in every technology for education play.
Talking Technology First
Technologists look at a modern classroom, see very little change in the education process from the 1900s or even 1800s, and think to themselves, “There has to be a better way to educate.” They come up with amazing technology designed for students to use directly, assuming away barriers of literacy, motivation, and access.
Focused on Hardware
When they announce their innovation, they wow audiences with flashy hardware. $100 green laptops and yellow tablets that are ruggedized against drops and drips, with long battery life come to mind. They also talk of local servers with localized content, though usually in passing, and rarely mention lesson plans, leveled readers, and other teaching aids high in demand.
Forgetting the Teachers
While the press fawns over the gadgets and shares pretty pictures of smiling children, teachers wonder what all the fuss is about. Not on stage, and not in the center of the excitement, they look from afar on yet other student-centric solution that doesn’t come with teacher training, or more importantly, teacher motivation.
In fact, teachers often rightly see the latest tech-toy as a subtle ploy to shift limited education budgets from salaries payable for many hardworking, oft-forgotten men and women far from the big cities, to the pockets of powerful constituencies closer to the capitol.
After decades of failure, we know that there are no shortcuts to good education. Efforts to improve education in underperforming primary and secondary schools should focus almost exclusively on better teachers and stronger administrations. Not shiny, flashy gadgets for kids, no matter how colorful.
Am I right, or is BRCK a better education? Tell us in the comments!
Go to SourceReprinted from ICTWorks
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