Professor Steve Molyneux is the co-founder and CEO of Tablet Academy, a leading education consultancy and teacher training company. He is a Fellow at the College of Education and Human Development at Lamar University in Texas, specialising in Global Education Leadership.
Every once in a while, an innovation is so revolutionary, it changes the world forever. The wheel, the printing press, and the telegraph each led to an unprecedented change in the way humanity interacted. For every generation that followed, the world was a very different place. Within our lifetime, we too have witnessed the introduction of a technology so unprecedented, at a scale so broad, and pace so quick, that scholars are simply unable to envision the full scope of the social significance this innovation will ultimately produce. Personal computing devices, and the networks they are connected to, have combined to become the single greatest invention humanity has ever experienced. This advancement in information processing devices and services has dramatically transformed business, politics, commerce, and the lives of billions of individuals – and will continue to do so as the exponential rate of information technology advancement continues unabated.
Of all industries, education holds the most potential for disruptive innovation from these technologies as it is the only field centered exclusively on the transfer of information and the skills required to find, create, and utilise data. Not since the emergence of the printed book has the field of education experienced such opportunity for advancing the core product it produces. Leading a revolution in learning through the use of information technology is not only the greatest opportunity of our generation; it is also our greatest challenge.
Despite the unprecedented capability of educational technology, educators in all sectors, from Pre-School to Post-16, continue to struggle to integrate these technologies into the processes of learning. Many teachers are capable of teaching about technology, but are often reluctant to teach with technology. Moreover, unsure of how to create and implement disruptive innovation strategies, many school leaders continue to promote traditional methods of instructional practice, even when provided with tools and evidence to embrace more effective and engaging pedagogic and didactic methodologies.
School leaders and policy makers MUST realise that only by providing teachers with professional development in the use of such technologies in the classroom, rather than just in the technology itself, will they achieve the rewards that the industry so often promises.