As technology continues to shape and change the classroom, teachers from our ISTE focus groups spoke with true passion about their challenges in choosing the digital solutions that are best for their students. While new technologies are meant to solve problems, they sometimes inadvertently cause new ones. For instance, a school may implement a BYOD program and find themselves with an over-burdened bandwidth, impeding the very learning model these devices were intended to facilitate.
Educators are first responders in this industry. They’re the front line. Every administrative decision, whether a new data policy or technology implementation, affects teachers and students, and every legislative decision, when it comes to e-rate or the lack of funding, impacts educators’ ability to accomplish critical learning outcomes.
They’re also teaching to a constantly connected, information-absorbing demographic. How do they meet their students where they are and teach them to use those digital skills to increase their learning and creativity?
Here’s what some of the teachers we talked to had to say:
BYOD/Never Enough Bandwidth …
“Bandwidth is the biggest issue. Kids come in with like four devices now. It takes a lot of bandwidth, every year we add bandwidth and it costs a lot of money.”
“BYOD is up to teacher discretion. Our issue was we had multiple hives and a Wi-Fi password, and our high schoolers would sell the password to middle schoolers, so we had like 50 cell phones trying to jump on our hive at once.”
“I think BYOD is okay, but in my school, 70 percent of our students are on the free and reduced lunch program. So you have the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ and if you don’t have devices for those children, it’s not really equitable.”
“With the e-rate changes that have come down, we’re going to be looking at less funds. We’ve already gone 1:1, and are approaching end of life on those devices. We’re going to have to come up with another pot of money somewhere…”
“I’m concerned because we’ve had so many shifts and gaps and I’m afraid if we leave Common Core, we’re going to have many more gaps. I think we need to stick with what we have for a while and let it play out.”
“I think they need to reach out to the school system and find teachers who are willing to pilot things to where we can actually see it work for our teachers. We’ll buy into that a lot faster.”
“We need to communicate with them [the public] and invite them in to get that community support. We need to reach out.”
“We went 1:1 this year, and the complaints from parents I’ve had to field are that their kids are getting more homework now just because they have a device 24/7 with internet access. They’re saying that teachers are just giving students more to do at home because they have more time with the device, but our students have time to do their work in class. They just don’t, so then they have to take it home.”
“We’re seeing less guided instruction. Our concern is that the devices are becoming the teachers and our test scores are hitting rock bottom. We’re going back to lesson planning and making sure the guided instruction piece is in there.”
“We need the blended learning piece; we really need to work on that.”
We’ll leave you with a question: As marketers, how are we serving our first responders? Finding that through-line across the many stakeholders playing key roles in the education community is both a marketer’s most critical task, as well as the industry’s greatest challenge.
Integrated communications. Compelling content. A commitment to serve, not just sell. These are essential takeaways for marketers navigating the education industry today.