Sunday, March 16, 2014

5 Things I Wish Everyone Understood About Educational Technology

1. The technology isn't the point
Still….STILL….all these years later (it's 2014 and the internet is 25 years old) when we all know that technology isn't the point in education, there is still so much talk about the technology, the apps, the devices, the new shiny stuff. True, if it's new and shiny and cool it might enable me to redefine a task, that is if it's not too expensive or too difficult to learn or to manage.

2. The technology isn't the lesson
The students in my 4th/5th 1:1 iPad class do not need lessons on using their iPads. They are faster and more adept than I am at using most of the apps. However, they are young and still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to using these devices in a balanced, useful way. They have a lot to learn to become literate users of these powerful tools. They need guidance in understanding and creating work that represents quality in a time of anything goes.

3. The technology isn't the problem
When the kids use social media or chats in ways that hurt others, the technology is not the cause of their mean spirited behavior.

4. The technology isn't the answer
Technology is wonderful and amazing. I love my digital devices and appreciate all the ways they have changed my life for the better.  It's hard to imagine teaching without Google, Pinterest, Twitter, Wordpress, iPads, etc., and I believe that being a connected educator has helped me grow into a better teacher.
However, technology has its dark side. Many people are becoming distracted and unbalanced, spending less real time with real people. There are some serious human health, safety and environmental consequences caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of these devices we love so much.

5. The technology isn't going away
Whether you or I love or hate technology matters not one iota. The world is changing in ways we can barely imagine. Hang on for a wild ride!


Jessica Garris said...

I am a Secondary Education/English student at the University of South Alabama and for a while I have been on the "hate" side of the technology argument. I worry about the balance of technology and face-to-face contact, as you mentioned. I am taking an EDM310 class right now and it is slowly but surely reassuring me that not all technology is evil. There are definitely some great tools out there that will help engage students and get them excited about learning. I really liked the point you made about teaching students to be literate users of these tools. They already know how to use the technology and will be doing so whether I like it or not, so the best thing I can do is teach them how to use it responsibly.

Help Teaching said...

Excellent points made. Too many entrepreneurs think they can come and save education with fancy technology missing the point that tools are only a part of the equation and even best methods fail depending on environment and challenges.

Unknown said...

My name is Katherine Harvey and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I agree with the comments made in this blog. There has to be a balance between using technology in productive ways. I agree with the point made about younger students knowing more about technology than most of the older people. I believe that we have to keep them engaged in learning technologies so they can continue to learn.