In 2013, we ran two posts where Lindsay Rattray explained the opportunity he saw in bringing together the pedagogy of ELT and the power of inter-connected mobile technology. His startup, ClassWired, was a way to do student-centred ELT activities in class. It was web-based to work on any device. It gave you information about your class, like how fast your students are working, and what they are finding difficult. In fact, Lindsay was an early ELT Entrepreneur, asking questions and looking for answers from an ELT teaching and EdTech perspective. Picking up his story almost two years on, it’s interesting to see how the questions have changed, fundamentally.
Is adaptive learning ethical? Is it OK to experiment on one set of learners to improve results for another? Do EdTech companies have a higher duty of care to their users than regular businesses?
When I suggested we need an ongoing discussion with our students about EdTech, the responses varied. Some comments were made about the validity of the questions, and what inferences could be drawn from them. They were mostly fair, but I wonder if we’re learning as much as we can from the way the startup world does user feedback.
I think it’s time we made a habit of asking what students think of EdTech.
Where are we going with Adaptive Learning and ELT? I’m a little worried we might be mapping our path before we’ve seen it. So here are 5 assumptions I’ve identified from our posts on the subject so far, and my thoughts on each.