It’s not about the Tech…..


It has been a while since I have written on this blog but life has been a bit busy for me, as I am sure it has been for everyone.

I recently was listening to a great friend, Rolland Chidiac‘s new podcast with Peter Skillen about innovation and using technology. Peter and Rolland are two educators that really look highly on. There was a line that I heard in the post that I just hit a big aha moment. Peter mentioned that the OTF Summer conference was titled “Pedagogy before Technology” and that he wasn’t fond of the title but that it was something that was current in education. Now we all know education is full of amazing buzz words but this is one that I have been saying a lot lately, so when Peter mentioned that he didn’t agree with this I was like hey wait a minute. I loved his response and really felt myself nodding, as I usually do, with his ideas. However, I still wonder about this statement.

In his, talk Peter mentions that it also should be about the tools as often it is the tools that drive our thinking and learning. Though I agree with this where I struggle is that I often find in my adventures is that the first question I get is, do you have an app?  My problem is that I feel as educators we are looking for what is current or what is trending in education. We often don’t look deeply and closely at the pedagogy for learning. Though I think that tech and new innovation is needed, we need to understand that nothing replaces good solid pedagogy. I know that Peter and Rolland would agree with me; however, this is why I think this is why I say this line all the time. I think that with all this new tech, we have forget what teaching really is all about. We forget that we have to think about being reflective practitioners. That we need to anticipate students responses, connect to the curriculum and really think about our assessment.

I say that it’s not about the tech because though technology is important we must always think about its use and why we are using it. When I hear do you have an app? I see that the same as walking into a library and asking do you have a book? Of course, we have books? but what book? What’s its use? Why do you want it? Will it help or hinder? These are all questions that we have to really think hard about as teachers. A great article that I have found helpful in planning is Stein et al. 5 practise of creating discourse. It is an amazing article talking about 5 things that we need to do when planing a math lesson. Though it is math it can be applied to any lesson.

  1. Anticipate: We need to think how will students learn this tool? What will they be learning? What problems will occur? How can I help them with it?
  2. Monitor: We need to monitor our students use? Assess their learning? Conference with them?
  3. Select: This is more math here but when monitor we are also looking at student work to showcase and show the learning goals
  4. Sequence:
  5. Consolidate: We need to always consolidate the learning no matter the tool. A tool is a tool unless there is some learning.

I know that as teachers we also need time to learn new tools and how they work but first and foremost we need to understand what their purpose is and why we would be using them in the classroom. Love to hear your thoughts on this and if you haven’t heard it already listen to Rolland’s podcast some fantastic educators on there.