There are a lot of things I hear about technology in learning that get followed by sagely head-nodding and repetition, and are never questioned. This is sad, because most of those things are either near-sighted, off-track, or incredibly defeatist. I’ve compiled a few here.
I asked Twitter for some more suggestions too, which Jeff Plaman dubbed #edumyths. Here’s my suggestions.
Of course it does. But what doesn’t? The good news is that if you focus on what tech tools do, rather than what they’re called (verbs, not nouns) the whole river slows down from a chain of terrifying rapids to a gentle, hobbitworthy meander.
Also, we’re educators. Our entire job is change. The job description pretty much entirely boils down to “change young people from screeching toddlers into well-rounded adults.”
Nope. Let’s not be generationally defeatist in the same classroom where you’ve put up a poster about a growth mindset. Kids tend to arrive at school quick, confident, and comfortable on a screen, but generally pretty limited in scope – often limited to lean-back entertainment.
My cheeky line here was “how do you know you can get there by road?” SAMR suggests that the wheel’s the first step. Then you change the tyres, then you look for the runway so you’ve got enough altitude to test out your hoverboard.
Sure, tech is a big ol’ toolbox… but is it not an environment as well? Does it not facilitate communities? Most importantly, has it not redefined the way humans create, develop, and share knowledge?
It also occurs to me that in most other domains when mechanised or automated tools become available, they quickly usurp their manual counterparts. I have lovingly given my grandfather’s hand drill and gardening tools a place in my shed, but if I need to attack the lawn or hang a picture, I know my buddy Ryobi’s got my back. Don’t even get me started on people and their Thermomixes.
Oh the gold standard for legitimacy that cumbersome, underpowered paper enjoys. I wish people would listen to me like that.
While we’re talking about paper, let’s talk about the magic bullet for employability that being able to crudely bash together a piece of paper on screen that even other copies of the software used to make it throw a tantrum at the prospect of opening will apparently lend you. I can’t use Word, but I can communicate using text. I can also communicate in other ways.
Just don’t mention the previously described innate machine-whispering superpowers the kids have after you’ve dropped this one. They’re digital natives, right?
Deliberately poking this one with a stick, I’m not for a second suggesting that educators are not time-poor. I am however being realistic about the fact that time doesn’t make itself, and in the current climate in WA public schools, it’s not going to be given freely.
I am suggesting that regardless of your teaching context, your professional attention is far more deserved by children than administrative tasks. Where there are tools to help you collect and maintain teaching resources, to collect and manage data, and to richly capture learning as it happens, there are opportunities for you to direct your attention and expertise to the things that matter the most.
I am suggesting that by understanding what’s on offer, we can use our time well.
How about you? What toxic ideas about technology have you heard that people believe for no reason other than that people say them out loud, and that need to go away?