Edtech doesn’t replace teachers — it augments classroom learning

Schools shouldn’t approach educational technology as a replacement for teachers’ various roles, says Michele Eaton, an administrator with the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis. Rather, she said, they should consider technology as a way to change the classroom dynamic.

“As we shift the way we think about what our classroom looks like, [it’s] not thinking about it as a replacement for the teacher but as a way for the teacher to really change the structure of learning in the classroom,” Eaton, her district’s director of virtual and blended learning, tells EdScoop in a recent video interview.

Eaton, who was recognized for her work by EdScoop and the Consortium for School Networking in 2016, says she has been focusing on making sure that her district is using edtech in “meaningful ways.” (The program Eaton was recognized in has since been renamed “NextGen: Emerging EdTech Leaders.” EdScoop named five new edtech leaders in April.)

Eaton says that shift in thinking is possible in part because adaptive programs for student learning are “really starting to get on the scene quite a bit more.”

“If we’re taking data from [edtech] to make artful decisions in small groups, then we’re able to blend our classroom a little bit more,” Eaton says.

With that in mind, Eaton says she remains cautious about the training educators will need to prepare them as they use edtech to enable their work.

“I’m excited about the emerging technology that’s coming, but I’m also wary that if we don’t provide the right professional development, we could start to think that maybe that software is a silver bullet,” Eaton says. “And maybe that’s not the case.”

Eaton on her top priorities:

Eaton on the evolution of her role:

These videos were filmed at the Consortium for School Networking’s annual conference in Portland, Oregon, in April 2019.