Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Quick Return to My #EdTech Foundations

A good friend of mine asked me to share my five best arguments for why technology should be integrated into the curriculum or a teacher's practice. He's a super smart guy whose own expertise in this area is exceptional, so he wasn't really likely to learn anything from my response, so much as he was looking to see what wrinkles I might add to his own thinking.

Because he knows me, he asked me to limit myself to 5 bullet points. I may have a reputation for verbosity and ADHD-enhanced mental overkill. I don't generally limit myself.

BUT, I like a challenge, so here is what I sent back:

  • Technology amplifies great teaching and learning, making good learner-centered lesson design, great. It enables educators and learners to do real, complex work that can have an impact beyond the classroom and after the bell. 
  • Technology enables the 21st Century Skills referenced in [our school district's] Vision for Teaching and Learning: Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving (as well as others that appear in a wider sweep of the literature).
  • Technology connects students more directly to wider (and more authentic) audiences for their work which encourages greater ownership, provides them with richer feedback, and gives them more opportunities for voice and choice.
  • Technology opens a door to richer content with which to engage, exposing students to more opportunities to understand the world from diverse perspectives and learn empathy, providing them with greater power to use their own inquiry to drive learning, and connecting them to expertise that would otherwise be limited or unavailable.
  • Our students are living blended (digital and analog) lives that are on-demand, democratized, connected, and empowered. Their learning has to be blended as well to a) be relevant to them, b) help them understand their blended world and their rights, responsibilities, limits and opportunities within it, and c) teach them the technical skills and modern literacies (digital, information, media) that will help them be life-ready citizens in the Digital Age.
Obviously, I cheated a bit. Those are some dense bullet points. A short-hand version might be:
  • EdTech makes learning-design more impactful and engaging.
  • EdTech empowers future-ready skills development.
  • EdTech makes learning more authentic and meaningful.
  • EdTech provides access to the world's resources.
  • Tech is part of the world. EdTech prepares kids for it.
That's as concise as I can get. #TheStruggleIsReal

This was a fun exercise. I'm sure on any given day, my answer might be slightly different, but that's why it is good to circle back around to what you think from time to time. 

I'd be curious to know what the rest of my #edtech friends would list as their 5 best bullet points on this topic. Feel free to share yours in the comments.