Building Better Ed-Tech Bridges


Education Week has launched yet another blog into the fray. EdTech Researcher, written by Justin Reich, intends to be “a space for building bridges between educators who use technology in their practice and researchers who seek to better understand the impact of technology on teaching and learning.”

This niche could be a fruitful one, given that many schools rush headlong into new technologies—from game-based learning to blended and online instruction. Reich casts a critical and amused eye on the new Common Sense Media Learning Ratings for Apps and Games. He picks apart the seemingly arbitrary standards: “Kinect Star Wars gets 1 ‘book’ for learning for encouraging people to be physically active. Does physical activity count as learning? Fruit Ninja gets 0 ‘books.’ Swinging my arms is learning but swishing my finger isn’t? What about the pattern recognition in Fruit Ninja; isn’t that learning?”

Elsewhere, he brings an academic perspective to the lessons learned from the Kony 2012 phenomenon, imploring educators to consider the implications for instruction on information literacy and social activism, and analyzes recent research on the effectiveness of automated essay scoring. Amid the countless sources and reviews of new apps and hardware, Reich is a refreshing, accessible voice who helps make sense of technology and education’s big picture.


  1. The article “Technology is not the Silver Bullet” was an excellent read. As a school principal, I find that teachers will google search, find an activity or an article, and then replicate the technology in their classroom as a “project”. A couple years back, we conducted our own case study by focusing on front loading math vocabulary through technology (websites, photos, videos). We compared our data to a school who used the same math problems but did not front load with the technology. Our students showed growth over the comparative population. What I found interesting was that we spent an entire year focused on integrating technology in a meaningful, authentic manner but it only took days the following year to see teachers back to their old ways “google” searchers. Adult learning is extrememly tricky and apparently in our situation our short term gains had little long term impact.

    Thanks for posting this blog. You got me thinking about this dilemma again.


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