One of the most exciting things for me as a person who works in the education field is to think about all the potential we have for helping students be all they can be. And that only happens best if education is a two-way street. In fact, the word “education” is built on the word “educe,” which means to draw out, or bring out, or elicit. It also means to evolve something from a potential state. And, that is what education does best: it brings out potentials.
In talking with a co-worker the other day, we got in an animated conversation about why we spend so much of our company’s time and money doing research and development (R&D). And thinking about that brought us to consider the best way to do R&D?
After years of working in the education technology field, I had a little revelation this week about technology and our uneasiness about trying new things that might be really good for us and good for our schools. I have to preface things by saying that for years, whenever I’ve heard a teacher say that she or he was surprised how valuable classroom sound systems are for helping kids hear better, manage classrooms and even reduce the strain of raising their voice, I used to think, “But that’s obvious. It’s in our marketing tools, on our website, and the sales force tell customers all about audio in classrooms.”
If you analyze the word “education,” you will find that our English word derives from the past participle of the Latin word educare, similar to educere (or, “to lead out,” which is the source of our word “educe.”). In other words, one of the purposes of education is to bring forth from a student that which is innately in them: their talent and passion in life.
Research is a big deal when considering adopting technology for the classroom. Decision makers must consider several factors before committing themselves and their dwindling technology funds. Manufacturer’s claims are always suspect. If you’re as cynical as I am, even the testimony of other educators can be twisted. So what’s an educator to do?
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