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.