Involving Teachers More in Discussions of Edtech

I think most teachers would agree that being more directly involved in the edtech “revolution” would help both edtech developers and policy makers to better meet the actual needs of classrooms. Mercer Hall and Gina Sipley articulate this point quite well in their article. However, how can this be accomplished? In Texas, the State Board of Education, like other policy makers, are often more concerned about their public image, and maintaining their position as much as (if not more than) they are concerned with actually improving education. In many cases (such as in Texas), these people also behave more as political ideologues who would sooner drive education into the ground pursuing their own beliefs in what is “right” than listen to dissenting resources or opinions. In these sorts of political environments, how can teachers make sure that their voices are heard? Afterall, just by sheer numbers alone, teachers’ political influence is dwarfed by the voting power that parents yield. Similarly, they do not have anywhere near the monetary influence of businesses that invest in education. So, how can teachers’ voices reach the ears of the people that write and interpret education policy? Possibly more important is also how they can actually make their input politically valuable to those people. One way is of course to influence public opinion, thereby creating public pressure. However, this presents its own challenges (e.g. media coverage, public interest, mobilization, etc.). Furthermore, in today’s political environment, not a single issue comes up that does not become highly politicized, thereby becoming distorted and often destroyed in the process. This goes double if an issue can be interpreted along religious lines, and not just partisan ones. So given all these challenges, what can teachers do to become more involved in the political discussions both surrounding and driving the development and integration of edtech?

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