Starting to think about technology

Greg Whitby claims that the focus on technology is a “waste of time.” He says: “If you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.”

What do you think he means by this, and to what extent do you agree? Why do you think we focus on the technology?

Greg’s statement, if taken out of context, could be misconstrued. Whilst he says to focus on the technology is a waste of time he is not dismissing technology as a powerful teaching and learning tool. He simply states that our energy and time should be spent on the quality of the teaching and learning. Teachers should strive to equip young people to be socially critical participants in our ever changing society. We have many devices at our fingertips to do this and to focus on the skills required to use this device is to miss an opportunity to see how these tools enable good teaching and learning.

I agree with this statement and that of others in the podcast, teachers can be distracted by the next shiny thing and be constantly trying to master the skills to use the tool instead of embedding it in their teaching practice or the student’s learning experiences. I think this is often the default for teachers as they may be fearful of using a device they don’t know how to use or problem solve if it isn’t working properly. Perhaps as teachers we are so used to having control of the classroom and being the master of all learning that we are scared to allow a tool in the room that we don’t know how to use, therefore our time and energy is spent on mastering the technology or device rather than thinking about the pedagogy.

For many teachers it is all too much, as soon as they can use one tool, a new one is developed and they are forever catching up. I say to the teachers I work with “You don’t have to be the expert in this device/app/software, it is a tool to help students meet a curriculum outcome, the curriculum and pedagogy is where you need to focus.”

Reference

Recording retrieved from http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2012/08/fte_20120819_1130.mp3

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