modern classroom

Making EdTech Tools Effective in the Classroom

It’s the learning environment that matters

by Dr. Rod Berger

For Dr. Robert Dillon, innovation in the classroom isn’t just the latest edtech tool, or app, or curriculum model. He believes that just changing the tools doesn’t advance education unless you also create a dynamic learning space to engage students and allow educators to take full advantage of the almost limitless knowledge at their fingertips. Robert gets to go around the country and work with a number of school districts on optimizing their physical classroom space, and uses the opportunity to exchange ideas with other educators on designing optimal learning spaces. “It gives us a chance to talk with people from all walks of life and experience about instructional design and the way the tools of technology are being used in their classrooms,” Robert says.

When we don’t adjust the traditional learning environment of desks in rows and teacher-led call-and-response instruction, Robert says, the ability for technology to allow us to be creative, collaborative, and curious gets thrown out the window. “I just want people to slow down and notice and have conversations about some of these things. They have been driven by inertia, momentum, and tradition for too many years.” In too many places, Robert has seen districts and schools that have plateaued now that they have devices that kids can use to consume curriculum, but we’re not teaching them to use the tools to problem solve and create. “The threshold that we need to get across is that the learning environment has to be in sync with the technology and academic goals that we have.”

Robert will be presenting a few sessions about syncing digital and physical learning environments effectively at the 2019 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando from January 26-30. “Oftentimes, we don't have a lot of time to reflect on the impact on students and how they're experiencing technology in an education setting,”

He says, adding that it is up to the people who talk to the innovators, the ones implementing the curriculum in the classroom and working on the ground floor who have to make sure that everything is being implemented and is performing successfully.

In the end, it’s all about the student learning and growing in creativity, knowledge, and problem-solving. Where education used to revolve around just teachers and curriculum, in today's learning environment, educators must also ask, “What is the student user experience with their technology?”

About Dr. Robert Dillon

Dr. Robert Dillon has served as a thought leader in education over the last twenty years as a teacher, principal, and director of innovation. Dr. Dillon has a passion to change the educational landscape by building excellent engaging schools for all students. Dr. Dillon serves on the Leadership Team for Connected Learning, a Saint Louis based organization designed to reshape professional development to meet today's needs. Dr. Dillon has had the opportunity to speak throughout the country at local, state, and national conferences as well as share his thoughts and ideas in a variety of publications.

He is the author of four books on best practices in learning, Leading Connected Classrooms Engage, Empower, Energize: Leading Tomorrow's Schools Today, Redesigning Learning Space, and his most recent book on learning space design called The Space: A Guide for Educators. Follow Dr. Robert Dillon on Twitter.

FETC January 27 - 30, 2019

Dr. Robert Dillon will be presenting four sessions at the 2019 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) from January 27th-30th in Orlando, Florida. The conference will bring together thousands of educators and technology leaders for an intensive, highly collaborative exploration of new technologies, best practices, and pressing issues. Registration is now open.

Robert will be presenting at the following sessions:

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