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I am an educator living in Tasmania Australia. Currently a relief teacher trying to create and personalise my learning journey.

Simon Youd

Why EdTech? Why not Ed Tools?

3 min read

The conversation often seems to have this unhealthy focus on education technology as a separate thing, something that lives in its own ecosphere. Yet if we were to talk about technology in the classroom why are writing implements not counted, or: electricity, group tables, paper, pens erasers? The focus needs to be on using the right tool for the job. If you were teaching calligraphy would you ban pens? If you were drawing would you ban pencils? Then why, is technology, the easy target to remove from learning. Most students when not in the class or after graduating from school will carry a phone in their pocket, yet most are unlikely to carry a pen or pencil in their pocket. Teaching then needs to include targeted use of this “technology” to be a productive and purposeful part of their lives. Almost all will use it outside school so why not bring it in?


José Picardo wrote an article about the obsession of technology in education by those teachers who wish to practice teaching and learning using modern tools. What a wild and carefree attitude for teachers to have. He points out that many technology tools currently used are in their infancy, and any “evidence of learning” is almost impossible to produce, if there is such a thing to be truly found. Those who complain about technology being used and believe it should be banned may be the ones that have more problems and a bias towards (against) technology than the teachers and educators that believe it is a valuable tool to use in the classroom.


Mark Weston discusses the ways that education is failing technology in his article, Shift Paradigms – Quit Failing Technology. If this article does not challenge us as educators to find ways to make great teaching and learning even greater through the proper use of technology , then nothing will. Technology has revolutionarily changed many business and habits of life previously unthought of, yet education struggles to cohesively find a way to use technology that delivers those same changes and benefits to students.


Use the right tool, after using the right pedagogy then plan which tool enhances learning. Technology sometimes fills that bill, but other times it does not, we should not use it just because it is there. I have made mistakes in using technology just because, and know attempt to think through what learning experiences I would like students to have and then what tool(s) would enhance that.


Simon Youd

What do we Allow in our Classrooms?

3 min read

A.J. Juliani is an educational change thinker, reformer and writer that always challenges me with his writing and thinking. AJ and his partner in crime, and podcasting, John Spencer often  talked about knowledge bombs being dropped in their podcast classroom questions. In AJ’s article Creating the Conditions for Innovative Teaching and Learning he talked about the PLASMA framework for how to be innovative and intentional in education change.


Picture from article, link



   The allow is for what do we allow to happen in our classroom to promote change and innovation. The less control we try to have and maintain the further the boundaries can be pushed by those who have a variety of ideas. This is what gave me the open mouth thought, what could we allow. Then I hung my head in shame at what I thought next. Everything bad that has happened in my class and classroom is because I allowed it.

   The curriculum is only crowded if I allow it to be. Teaching to the test will only happen if I allow it. Teacher centred, compliance controlled classrooms only happen if I make it so. What have I allowed to happen in my classrooms that has deprived students of opportunities that I should have given them?

The Challenge

The challenge then is what is going to be allowed to happen in the classroom? How can innovation be driven by the teacher getting out of the way and letting students take control. We still need to guide and assist, but as mentors and coaches, not as the team captain.


If we don’t allow for inquiry, choice, collaboration, digital tools, failure…then usually only the people in charge are allowed to have ideas.”

The Curriculum Problem

   This is one that I have when teaching math and science. There is knowledge that you see as being necessary, although that may be challenged by many as to who relevant and necessary it is. Might this be achieved by setting some guidelines and framework for what knowledge is to be covered, but then leaving students to choose how they wish to proceed with the learning.

   One way I have seen this covered is by making the outline of what topics need to be covered in the curriculum. But then students created what was to be covered as the learning. This was done by them creating an iTunesU course and publishing the materials there as a subject plan for others to use if they so desired.

What Will I Allow?


   Once you find a problem or challenge, to ignore it moving forward is to willfully make bad decisions. The change I want to see in education must be the change that I allow. Less me, more students. Students actively participating in learning, in creating their path forward. Education is done to students, learning is done with them. What will you allow your students to do and achieve? Let’s not hold them back, but push them forward.