Pencils, Backpacks, and Perspective: The POTUS and Edtech

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While I was unfortunately unable to watch President Obama’s recent State of the Union (living abroad has its downsides) I made sure to read the transcript and absorb every bit of information he stated about education in the US. I’m not one to argue politics, but I was personally pleased to hear his plans to improve the state of education. So what did he mention about edtech?

“Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge, to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.”

All I can say is, thank goodness! I’ve mentioned in a few of my other posts my belief that the fundamental purpose of education is to prepare students for the world they will encounter when they leave school. Our economy involves a lot more new technology than it ever has, technology that is constantly changing and getting better. This means that by the time students who are in kindergarten now enter the work force, technology could very likely be unrecognizable. Preparing students for the future means introducing them to technology – giving them proverbial floaties so that when they’re dumped into a turbulent ocean they have a chance of adjusting to the tides and swimming to the shore. So, I applaud this snippet. Even if it’s just a fraction of what I think should be the goal.

“And we’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math.”

Okay so this quote has very little to do with technology, I’ll admit. But creating technology-related classes, I’m all for. And connecting with colleges and employers to see just what sort of technology education students need seems logical. The problem with edtech in the end is how expensive it is, and without government funding a lot of schools wouldn’t be able to implement much at all. So, we’ll see how much actually gets done, but it gives me hope when the President backs some of the issues I’ve been blabbering on about for weeks now.

Those were the only mentions of education technology, but obviously he had a lot to talk about. I think these points are clear and pointing in the right direction, but the question is, what do you think? Will any progress be made on implementing technology on a wider scale in schools? Should the government be backing implementation? How exactly is any of this going to work out?

Check out the full transcript of Obama’s State of the Union here: