All y’all know my feelings about the role that #edtech should play in schools, right?  

I mean I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that I’m sick of conversations that take a tool-first approach to reimagining learning spaces.  When our primary goal is to get kids blogging or to teach kids to make Wordles or to roll iPad carts — or Chromebooks, or Whiteboards, or Apple TVs or any other gadget that you can think to spend your money on — into every classroom, we are wasting our time, energy, political capital and cold hard cash all at once.

That’s because tools in the hands of a person with no real skills are useless:

(click here to enlarge, download and view original image credits on Flickr)


Does this make any sense?

Brett’s point is that even if you bought him a three ton hydraulic jack, a four-position creeper with an adjustible headrest and a crap-ton of Torx bits, he’s never going to replace the alternator on his wife’s 1970 AMC Gremlin.  In the Twitterstrand that started this conversation, Brett argues that if you HAD to choose between skills or tools, skills matter more.

Now don’t get me wrong:  We MUST make investments in technology if our schools are ever going to remain relevant.

I cringe every time I have to turn to a kid in my classroom and say, “Good question — you’ll have to look that up when you get home.”  The two ten-year old desktops running Windows XP in the corner of my classroom AREN’T getting the job done.  In fact, they are embarrassing.  How can we really sell schools as modern learning spaces when we aren’t even willing to invest in modern tools for learners?

But until we start thinking about skills first, no amount of #edtech investment will change the way that our kids are learning.  

This is simple, y’all:  Before spending a dime, decide what you actually want your kids to know and be able to do.  If you can’t answer that question, do us all a favor and don’t buy anything.



Related Radical Reads:

Teachers, Chainsaws and the Dreaded Interactive Whiteboard

Change Depends on Something MORE than Shiny iGadgets

The Gadget Happy Classroom Fail

Share this post: