Are We Entering an Edtech Renaissance?

low angle photo of the florence cathedral
Photo by Chait Goli on

I remember the days of the early 2010s as a number of edtech tools we now all know and use regularly first hit the scene. And everyone talked about the coolest thing they’d seen and how it would “revolutionize the classroom.”

Plot twist: It didn’t.

Now, we see all the hype around AI and the onslaught of new AI apps made specifically for education. Of course, I’m excited about the potential, but I also see the problem of focusing on the wrong questions.

Catlin Tucker has a good take on what’s happening right now in the world of edtech:

It reminds me of the early days of the edtech boom when I would attend the Computer Using Educators (CUE) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conferences, and the most popular sessions had titles like “50 Tech Tools in 50 Minutes.” I remember questioning how effective those sessions would be at improving teaching and learning. Yes, attendees were exposed to a list of fun tools they might use, but they were not learning how to use those tools in service of strong pedagogical practices. That is the same concern I have now.

Scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, I see endless videos of teachers sharing AI-powered tools. They demonstrate the efficiency and simplicity with which these tools generate lists of questions, create quick assessments, and plan lessons or entire units. I can appreciate the excitement since lesson planning is a time-consuming endeavor. The piece of the design puzzle missing for me is how educators can use these AI tools to architect student-centered learning experiences that better meet the specific needs of learners.

Catlin Tucker, PhD

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