Can a School be Successful Without Using Modern Technology?
In today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected environment, using technology seems like a must, not an option. It governs most of the tasks that we complete each day, such as driving, communicating with others, and even banking. This led me to the question, can a K-12 school be successful without using technology? To me, this is a provocative question and a topic that I had never broached, up until now.
In this piece, I would like to answer this question through the lens of the attributes of a successful school and discuss if these attributes can be attained without the use of technology.
1. Common goals and visions. A successful school has goals and values, and this can be achieved without technology. However, this also means that you can’t use Microsoft Office or some other word processing software to document your goals and visions and your progress towards attaining them. It would have to be done with a pencil and paper.
2. High expectations. High expectations can be communicated without the use of technology, but technology can certainly help you disseminate your message more efficiently.
3. Proactively seeking solutions and continuous improvement. If you are actively seeking solutions to problems and issues, and continuously looking to improve processes and strategies, then your efforts would lead you to the conclusion that you need to leverage modern technology. It would help you solve your pain points and continuously improve your methods and processes.
4. Teamwork. Teamwork can be accomplished without edtech, but not at an optimal level. Many apps can streamline the communication and planning process, making it possible for school staff to work more efficiently. This, in turn, helps students achieve, which is a school’s number one priority.
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6. Continuous assessment. Assessment and the grading that comes along with it can be done without edtech. However, think about how Scantron machines revolutionized the education world in 1972. Instead of spending the entire day grading multiple choice exams, teachers could grade an entire class full of exams in less than a minute. Fast forward to 2019, and we have several tech products that can grade essays in under a minute. Talk about progress.
7. Professional development. The most powerful professional development is delivered in person, but it’s not the most efficient way of doing it. In today’s modern world, teachers have access to professional development 24/7, and all they need is a computer device and a reliable internet connection.
8. A school culture of respect, optimism, trust, and intentionality. This can be achieved without technology. However, there are edtech products that can streamline the process, saving you valuable time and helping you to develop a positive school culture, guaranteed.
9. Parental and community engagement. Engagement with the community and parents can be attained without access to technology, but it can be time-consuming. You try writing 100-130 handwritten notes to parents or community stakeholders and see how fast you develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It would be insane to do this, when there are edtech apps that can help you do it, with 95-99% less effort.
Can a K-12 school be successful without using technology? Absolutely. However, with shrinking school budgets, and the many hats that teachers wear, they can’t afford to do things the low-tech way, when high-tech can help them complete the same tasks with 95-99% less effort. Life is meant to be lived, and long gone are the days when teachers spent their weekends developing lesson plans, and grading papers. Unfortunately, with the low pay that many of us receive, we need the weekend to punch the clock for our second jobs.