Using New Tools for New Things

EdTech is definitely a thing. It’s very much a thing.

Any educator who tries to pretend they can have a full career without using some form of EdTech is just being foolish, although I know a few like that.

The tragedy, of course, is that the tech giants got involved and turned it into an “efficiency” machine, which really just means “profit.” But I don’t really fault them for it, because corporations will corporation.

Yet, unless you can find one and show it to me, there hasn’t been a single study proving that even with all the tools in the world, marginalized students still struggle relative to those in dominant groups. Of course, this just means they are problematized, their cultures, languages, and races become pathologized, and deeply concerned people fret about various “gaps,” be it language, achievement, or what have you.

The problem is schools are cruel to them and they’re not given the support needed that would foster healthy motivation. But it would require school leaders, and teachers, to admit culpability to change this, and this is the biggest battle.

(Before someone jumps in with, “Teachers work hard!” Of course they do. We still do things in a way that’s harmful for the marginalized and we need to do better.)

EdTech doesn’t really have any solutions for this, yet. It can provide lesson plans and help with assessment and grading. It can help students prepare for exams and do research more easily. For all its faults, EdTech has the ability to be of great use. But if our educational institutions are meant to push our society forward by training future generations – and I believe, ultimately, that that is the purpose of schooling – then it needs to turn its focus to improving the way educators support the marginalized. I suppose there isn’t really any money in that sort of thing just yet. But it won’t meet its potential as a subfield until it addresses this need.