Increasing equity through educational technology | MIT News
Justin Reich was ready to watch a teacher integrate technology into her lesson plan at a school in rural New Hampshire. His school had bought the laptops, Reich says. She had reserved them. They were charged. All the kids were connected. Electricity was on in the building. The wireless network was working. The projector bulb was working. The screen worked. But when the teacher went to connect the projector to the wall, the electrical outlet fell behind the plasterboard, thwarting her attempt at a lesson plan. “New technologies have enormous potential to improve student learning,” says Reich, “but many parts of a complex system have to work perfectly for this to happen.”
Reich, an assistant professor in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies / Writing Program (CMS / W), has been enthusiastic about the possibilities that constantly evolving technologies have brought to the learning process over the past few decades. But while many believe that the free, low-cost learning tools that are available have great potential to benefit students from low-income families, he has found that, in fact, this educational technology still benefits the wealthiest. .
“I think people underestimate the barriers,” Reich says. “Many educators are working because they want to create a more equitable world. But educational environments often end up reproducing social inequalities and social hierarchies. ”
Through his work as Executive Director at the MIT Teaching Systems Laboratory, now on the back of CMS / W and the Office of Digital Learning, Reich is working to find educational models that incorporate technology so that increase the quality of education and equity for students.
“People around the world are looking to see a shift in classroom teaching practice towards more active, committed, research-based collaborative learning,” he says. “And the only way it will happen is if we can drastically increase the quantity and quality of teacher learning available.”
Having started as a natural medicine instructor, Reich comes from a hands-on teaching training. Now, he makes sure that he and his projects are constantly related to the actual configuration of the classroom. He co-founded EdTechTeacher, a professional learning consultancy that focuses on finding thoughtful ways to use technology in teaching and learning. He also has conversations with classroom instructors through his blog hosted at Education Week, EdTechResearcher.
Reich has also created learning tools for teachers through two online courses, Launching Innovation in Schools, in collaboration with Peter Senge of the Sloan School of Management; and Design Thinking to Lead and Learn. Both courses were funded by Microsoft with a $ 650,000 grant.
At CMS / W, it seeks to explore the field of science learning and the role of the media in expanding human capacity, especially in a civic sense.
“We are researching the complex technology-rich classrooms of the future and the systems we need to help educators thrive in these environments,” he says.