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.


Author: MrSoClassroom

I am a grade school Teacher, promoting creativity and exploration in all of my students. My classroom is always in a state of Inquiry.

5 thoughts on “It’s not about the Tech…..”

  1. Hi Jonathan;

    Thank you for sharing your thinking about this.

    It’s easy to have a discussion about “pedagogy before technology” when you have technology.

    Those who continue to struggle, fight, advocate, ask, plead, hope and negotiate for the opportunity to even have access to reliable internet or cell service at and devices in their schools don’t have the luxury of even participating in the conversation.


    1. Yes that is something I haven’t considered. This may not have been my clearest post but what I worry about is the idea that many teachers seem to only want the best app. Whether it is because they don’t have access or it’s because of funding I still think that teachers need to remember all of the planning that goes into using it effectively. I often hear the frustrations of failure with tech but when I ask what or how they used it, the answer is often I just gave it to them. This is why I often say think about the planning.

      I do understand the pressure that boards and admin put on teachers to use tech but I think we need to have the conversations about pedagogy.

      I am also not saying the learning of tech is not important. I think it is very important to know content. You cannot effectively plan without strong content knowledge.

      However the in balance of the haves and have nots also needs to be addressed. Thanks for the comments and making me explain myself better.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Jonathan;

        It’s always great to clarify your position, but my comment was just to extend thinking. I work with teachers who need technology because information is a free commodity, but only if you have a device and a connection. They have neither.

        If you are connected, you can learn anything you want to learn from some of the best teachers in the world. I think it’s silly to even suggest pedagogy should be before technology or technology should be before pedagogy, or that order is even a thing. Technology was once an industry. Now it is infused into everything we do and every product that is manufactured. It’s integrated into our lives in ways we don’t even realize

        Our reality today is that if the student doesn’t learn from your pedagogy, the student can go online and learn elsewhere. Our very savvy students will opt out of classroom environments that don’t meet their needs, and choose to learn in an environment that supports them as the learners they are, and allows them to learn what they need to learn to accomplish their own goals.

        If they are connected.

        And connecting every learner in Ontario must become a priority, because those who need access the most are the ones we are leaving out. These are the voices we don’t hear.


      2. Oh yes it does push my thinking and I do forget about that sometimes where I am in my classroom. I am very lucky to be where I am.

        I too think that it’s funny to even mention pedagogy but I also like to remind teachers who are new to using tech that they are the stars bot the tech. It is them that make the difference but they should still be using it. You are so right to say our kids will opt out and that is what I am afraid of. Thanks again for the comments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s