It’s Not Just a Tool
The following is an adaptation from a blog post by T&L advisor
Dean Shareski and a selection of responses from readers. To
see the conversation in its entirety, go to: www.techlearning.com/blogs/38944
Saying technology is “just a tool” can be dangerous. The problem with this thinking is
that it can get us used to seeing technology only as a means of automating or of making
current practice more efficient.
Believing that technology is just a tool allows people to use technology to perpetuate
bad practices and more testing, and to seek efficiency and simplicity instead of the messiness
that comes from personal connections to passions and interests. While I advocate for the
use of technology to share and make connectionsConnecting learners in itself is a powerful
new shift, add to that the , our ability to use it to create meanimgful projects and
works of art and it should change they way we think about learning.
I worry sometimes about efforts to “infuse” technology into our classrooms.
Much of this infusion is just about continuing on with current
practice, sprinkling technology on top, and calling it innovative.
This is when it’s just a tool. When technology transforms the way
we learn and offers us new, uncharted experiences and opportunities,
it’s much more than a tool; it’s a whole new environment.
Of course, we currently aren’t using technology to create learning
environments. At best we’re embedding them into our current
system. This isn’t about some Utopian world of learning. With
new possibilities come new problems. But these new problems have to be viewed and
addressed in new ways.
So the next time someone says technology is just a tool, I’d encourage you to
probe to find out what that means. Too often it’s a way of downplaying the significant
potential of emerging technologies and their power to effect change.
Yes, technology is not JUST another tool — I’ve been
saying that since the 90s. Digital tools can take learning
to a whole new level. BUT they do not replace educators
making instructional decisions and they do not replace
curriculum designed to teach the whole child. A new
kind of tool — not the answer to all the changes we need
to make in education.
Posted by: Walter McKenzie
The truth is, the way we conceptualize technology is a
major determinant of how we use, and will use, it for
heuristically meaningful purposes. Kudos on the content
Posted by: Rabbi David Etengoff
I would agree
that technology resources expand
the classroom experience — but
in no way replace educators. I
am concerned when the resource
becomes the learning objective.
Learning should not be developed around using a
piece of technology that was purchased — especially
when purchased without teacher input. I argue the
starting point should always be the learning objective
(good old backwards design – what do I want my
students to achieve and how to I facilitate the
Posted by: Jen LaMaster