Technology is a Tool, Not a Teaching Technique

I love to talk.

Oh I can talk about any given subject at any given time. I know a little about a lot of  things, and if I don’t have an opinion or a reasonable amount of background, I ask questions. I play devil’s advocate and try to gain perspective.  The conversations that can happen when you are open to them are awesome, sometimes even life-altering.

What I find truly interesting is the amount of resistance when it comes to technology in the classroom.  Recently my administrator went over some of the practical applications of iPhone/iTouch technology in the classroom and suggest we might look at bringing in some to test. The resulting discussions were outstanding. During the PD, some practical questions were asked. After the session, during lunch and at a staff function is where the real opinions came out.

Now, let me start by saying I am truly on the fence. I have a Smartboard and one to one computers in my classroom. My students have school provided email addresses and blog space. I know that I am limited in my Smartboard use, but we use the computers daily. The ability to access information is amazing. A great deal of my teaching when we are using the computers is about deciphering what is true and important from what is not.  I don’t know if having more technology available to us will help or add to the pile of stuff we need to figure out.  I truly don’t know how I feel yet.

Even when I don’t know how I feel, I don’t want to rule it out. I like a challenge. Some others are not so inclined. Once we took the money and logistics (Why wouldn’t we pay for more teachers and EAs instead? Who will provide tech support when our district won’t?)  out of the issue, it seemed to become a generational thing. Kids will never learn to communicate, just tweet and blog! What is wrong with face to face? Is a pencil so offensive? Just because technology exists, does that mean we must use it?

Did my grandpa think the same when the telephone became common place? Did he figure we would become lazy just because cars replaced horses and walking? Did he think we would become illiterate because we could watch the  news on t.v. instead of  reading the paper? Makes you wonder…

For me technology is a tool, not a teaching technique or strategy. If iPhones, iPads or the next best thing makes its way into my class I will try to make it work for me and my kids. I will NEVER give up on the conversations and the learning that comes from them. I will make sure my students understand the connections they create with others, both in person and using our tech tools are invaluable. If my team goes from seven people in my classroom to hundreds using the tools available to us, I won’t resist because in the end it is about what’s best for kids.

 Thanks for the post topic George.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scott Meunier
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 15:33:36

    Great post. Solid instructional objectives must guide us in the tools we choose to teach. Love it.

    Reply

  2. George Couros
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 19:52:37

    It is always about what is best for kids. When Norm and I went to see Ken Robinson, he said something that really stuck with me. He talked about the terms digital immigrants and digital natives and how “immigrants” and “natives” in society go through the same things we are seeing. The immigrants tend to hold on to “the way things were” while the natives help to define the new culture in this world they were born into.

    I think that there absolutely needs to be the opportunity to embrace both. Just because someone uses technology does not mean they do not have social skills. I know that I am very comfortable in social situations and using technology. The biggest shift comes from when people see that we can actually create meaningful relationships through the use of this technology. The kid who never connects with anyone can now find like-minded people and connect with them. In my own life, administration is a very isolating position, but I have connected with administrators all over the world and had some great conversations both online and face-to-face. These relationships are just as meaningful as ones that were developed “offline”. Does that not sound like the best of both worlds?

    Reply

    • Melissa Everitt-Dallinger
      Mar 16, 2011 @ 10:38:48

      I have nothing but respect for anyone who gets in front of a class. People who have strong opinions are awesome to banter with because they help me gain perspective. The only issue I will ever have is when a person has a strong opinion and doesn’t have any support for it or they use the “well, that’s just your opinion” conversation closer. I agree, that by embracing technology we can have the best of both worlds at the pace we choose for ourselves!

      Reply

  3. Wendy Z
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 19:56:52

    One of my favorite quotes: “Students don’t learn from technology; they learn with technology.”

    Reply

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