Later today, I’m presenting a session for my longtime digital mentor and friend, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and her PLP peeps.  The theme of the session—and a lesson that I learned from Sheryl almost a decade ago—is that digital tools are only powerful when teachers think about their content and their pedagogy first.

Sheryl explains it this way: “Learning how to use technology is much different than knowing what to do with it for instructional purposes.”

That makes a ton of sense, right? 

(download slide and view original image credit on Flickr)

Then why has it become so commonplace for districts to jump on digital bandwagons, attempting to spend their way to success every time a new tool—-Interactive Whiteboards, sets of student responders, iPads, netbooks—-burst onto the Ed Tech scene?

How come it seems like we always forget to place instructional decisions first when we’re considering the technology that we want to integrate into our classroom practices?  Have we forgotten that teachers actually know a thing or two about efficient learning?

All that I know is that the gadget-happy, “spend first and ask questions later” mentality surrounding our technology purchasing decisions has resulted in nothing more than classrooms where the tools are changing but the teaching remains the same.

What a waste.


(Original image credit:  iPad Final by photog2009, licensed Creative Commons Attribution on January 7, 2011)

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