Technology is cool. It is impressive and most certainly, it is refreshing in education. However, let’s be critical and cautious. It is not because it is cool, inspiring and refreshing that it has a place in our classroom!
I am a high school principal in Montreal. I am really involved in the local education scene and, usually, I have the opposite problem: I must convince teachers to use the best tools to deepen learning. And let’s face it: the best tools aren’t activity books and worksheets But at #ISTE17, I’ve seen thousands of educators from around the world who are tech curious, if not desperate for new technologies that support their practices.
Let’s not fall into tech fetishism. Not all you see is relevant for teachers. In fact, nothing is relevant until you give it meaning because technology is a tool that amplifies. It’s important to remember that technology amplifies the strengths and the areas of growth in your practice.
When I looked at various social media feeds and posts related to #ISTE17, most of the time on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, what I saw of #ISTE17 was a celebration of innovative practices that support the inclusion of technology : attendees gathered in awe around robotics, programming tools, components, software, and huge screens. Just like you, I am impressed by all this technology but as a school principal, I am more anxious about what will be done with it in class.
Of course, we have an obligation to develop our students’ 21st century skills and, for example, if we decide they must learn to code, the critical teacher has to wonder why: why must my students learn to code? What is my pedagogical intention? What should come to your mind is that computational thinking must be developed with children to help foster sequential complex problem solving and find creative solutions in collaboration with their peers.
So technology is great, but it is irrelevant in class without a critical teacher who can leverage deep learning using it.
Arriving at the very last day of #ISTE17, I thought it was an important reminder to use your upcoming vacation to think about the fact that pedagogy is the sole basis of your work: not technology.