From content applications to online assessments to parent engagement tools, there is an ever-growing trove of technology resources being pushed and pulled into classrooms. The overwhelming surface narrative has been that the more exposure to technology, the better prepared students are to thrive in the 21st century. There is, perhaps, a fatal flaw in that narrative. Experts across the field will attest that there are layers of complexity to consider. As Rupa Chandra Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Sown to Grow, details in her Edutopia Op-ed, “All [tech] products aren’t necessarily good for all students.” Simply supplying technology resources void of consideration of students’ individual needs isn’t the answer.
Technology is not one size fits all. Educators still have to do the work of educators, and understand what different sets of students need to engage with content and materials in a way that produces successful learning outcomes. Gupta offers practical advice, including “Follow your gut educator sense. If you’re worried that a tool is going to help some students at the expense of others, brainstorm differentiated scaffolds you can use to support students. If that’s not enough, consider other tools in the same space.” She also recommends piloting applications with a diverse set of students and paying attention to differences in how students are use, enjoy, and experience results from a product before full implementation.