It’s not about the technology

What I am getting from reading all these edublogs is this – and others have alluded to it in their blogs, so I will not claim to be an original thinker here – it’s not about the technology.  It’s about good teaching practice.  It’s about engaging students in the learning process, motivating them towards deeper understanding, helping them develop skills in collaboration, application, evaluation, analysis and reflection.  Web 2.0 gives us some new toys to play with, and perhaps makes lessons more relevant to the world of the students we teach, but essentially, it is about inspiring young people to learn, enjoy learning and make connections.  Using technology will not necessarily make me a better teacher, but thinking about how to use it to make the learning process more interesting and exciting for my students, will.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “It’s not about the technology

  1. Yes.

    But then again, a bit of a ‘No’ as well…?

    First of all, I’m not quite clear what we mean when we say “it’s not about the technology”? What exactly does ‘being what it’s all about’ mean?

    When the someone deletes a two months worth of work from the wiki site we’re using to collaboratively create our IB Biology glossary, it’s at least partially about the technology. The same goes for the skype interview scheduled for block C with the scientist from that CNN documentary and then suddenly the Internet goes down. Or designing and developing a course site on wetpaint for 25 SUNY masters candidates… For a while there, the technology does take center stage.

    But yes, it’s not nearly as much about technology as many people tend to think, not once you learn enough about the technology in question to gauge its benefits and limitations. At that point, the big decisions should all come from pedagogical deliberations.

  2. When the someone deletes a two months worth of work…

    Okay, I clearly haven’t had coffee yet this morning.

  3. dickinsonn

    True – there are times when it can seem that the technology is frustrating our efforts to use it in the classroom. Just the other day my projector decided not to work – when the lesson had been based around students giving presentations to the rest of the class.

    I think what I meant by “it’s not about the technology” is that we shouldn’t approach teaching from the standpoint of “how can I use a wiki in my lessons?”. Instead we should perhaps start with the end in mind (backward design), and then work out how we can best get the students to learn what we want them to learn in an interesting, challenging and engaging manner. This may well involve the use of the read/write web, but the incorporation of technology will not be contrived.

    Nadine

  4. @Stale The technology takes center stage only when it doesn’t work the way we want/hope it to. I think what we are all striving for (and I’m paraphrasing somebody here, Ewan McIntosh I think) is for the technology to be so embedded and seamless that it is invisible. Then, it is all about the learning and we just happen to be using something technical to achieve that!

    @Nadine I think your backwards design ideal is exactly what we are after. The tech is not the end, but rather a means to an end.

  5. Agreed. Neither you, nor I are out in front in this idea. However, I tend to use my blog to address folks first and foremost in my immediate building, district and region. My post on a similar note arose from conversations around me at the time. As post is appropriate… when it is. Right? 😉

    I also agree with Clint above when he brings (“The technology takes center stage only when it doesn’t work the way we want/hope it to.”) into the discussion.

    Actually- my post which was similar to this one, was also cross-posted to our school’s learning network on the Ning platform. The discussion there is far more interesting than that on my blog at the moment: http://virtualsouthside.ning.com/profiles/blogs/its-not-about-the-technology

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