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Classroom Technology From Our Research Center

25 Stupid Uses of Educational Technology, According to Educators

By Kevin Bushweller — March 27, 2023 1 min read
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It’s probably fair to say that most teachers, principals, and district leaders have a love-hate relationship with technology.

They love it when it is easy to use, boosts student learning and engagement, and generates a good return on investment of time and money. But they hate it when it is complicated and glitchy, has little impact on student performance, and wastes time and money.

Bad or misguided use can sour educators on the potential of technology to enhance learning, derailing future attempts to integrate digital tools into instruction.

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With that in mind, the EdWeek Research Center asked teachers, principals, and district leaders across the country this open-ended question: “What is the worst or most misguided use of educational technology you have experienced during your career in K-12 education?”

We received roughly 800 responses. Following are 25 particularly useful or illuminating ones that we pulled from the survey results. You might not agree with all these sentiments, but they are worth considering as schools integrate more technology into teaching and learning.

1   “Replacing computers, tablets, Chromebooks that work and are fairly new.”

—Elementary School Teacher | Alabama

2   “The constant use of Chromebooks is destroying our basic elementary foundation skills.”

—Elementary School Principal | Alabama

3   “Our school district invested thousands of dollars into VR [virtual reality] headsets for our college- and career-readiness teachers to use. According to students, it is just a very bad video game.”

—High School Fine Arts Teacher | Arkansas

4   “Use of message boards for comments during Zoom-based 'anti-racist' lessons.”

—High School Science Teacher | California

5   “Thinking that students only want to learn online. They don't. They appreciate print sources, hard copies of handouts, and books.”

—Superintendent | California

6   “The most misguided use of educational technology has been the overuse of ineffective platforms.”

—Elementary School Principal | California

7   “Seeing 1-to-1 computer programs adopted and then seeing the technology unused or misused.”

—Superintendent | California

8   “Having kindergarten students use iPads to take reading and math assessments.”

—Elementary School Teacher | California

9   “Using technology as a babysitter.”

—Principal, Other Grade-Level Configuration | Illinois

10   “Virtual teaching for kindergarten. They are too hands on. It just didn't work.”

—Elementary School Teacher | Michigan

11   “Smartboards. They are not interactive with kids. Adults still do all the work when using them.”

—Elementary School Principal | Minnesota

12   “That all accommodations and/or modifications can be offered on technology.”

—District Administrator—Special Education | Mississippi

13   “Teachers linking Google Classroom to websites and not screening them first.”

—Principal, Other Grade-Level Configuration | Missouri

14   “Teachers using a smartboard as a bulletin board.”

—Elementary School Principal | Nevada

15   “Using 'computer time' to have kids complete rote memorization tasks online and then play games, rather than learn actual computer skills.”

—High School Math/Computer Science Teacher | New Mexico

16   “The purchasing of smartboards before teachers were properly trained on how, when, and what to use them for. It became a huge waste of time and money.”

—District Administrator—Technology | New York

17   “Trusting that by using technology to replace tried and true methods there is a guarantee of improvement.”

—District Administrator | North Carolina

18   “Tutoring with no human involvement.”

—Elementary School Principal | Pennsylvania

19   “Videos as a primary source of classroom instruction.”

—High School Principal | Pennsylvania

20   “Live grade books that students and parents can see. It has increased 'grade grubbing' and stress among students.”

—High School Principal | Pennsylvania

21   “When teachers consider what technology to use and then fit the topic to the technology, rather than use the appropriate technology to fit the topic.”

—High School Social Studies/History Teacher | Texas

22   “The unwillingness to stick with a program long enough for all parties involved to get comfortable with the platform.”

—Middle School Fine Arts Teacher | Texas

—High School World/Foreign Languages Teacher | Texas

24   “Allowing cellphones to be used inside the school building at all!”

—Elementary School Principal | Vermont

25   “Teaching concepts in front of a group of students who are following along on computers at their desks.”

—District Administrator—Special Education | Washington State

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