The EdTech Lament

Sitting at Beans ‘n Cream having my morning tea and a tweet came through the stream . . . @mrplough07 linked to a new blog entry decrying his experience in a class he is taking as part of his EdTech masters work. He opened with his lament:

Something has been really bothering me lately. I’m taking a college course called Introduction to the Internet for Educators. When I first saw the title I was really excited because I figured the teacher would be teaching me all about how to use the Internet to help kids learn. However, thats not quite how it played out.

His post struck a chord that is constant with me so I had to reply (not to mention I appreciate @mrplough07‘s Twitter stream and blog)

Cory,

You are spot on! This is one of the main reasons that technology continues to have little impact on education. It may empower tiny enclaves here and there – but it has not had the massive impact that it should. Your experience identifies one of the major reasons.

EdTech isn’t about coding, it’s about taking what coders have already done and empowering student learning and teachers professional growth. There are plenty of people out there already creating new and usable applications every day – teachers don’t need to worry about this. It is incumbent on EdTech leaders, like yourself, to continue to push the envelope and wildly imagine ways that these tools can open the learning architecture in your classroom.

True, it is beneficial to know the underlying ideas of coding and design – it’s even fun to play with on the side (and may help you see its power more clearly). However, it does not create a new vision of education and THAT is what your class should be doing, creating vision, opening new windows.

Here is the dichotomy, your in the choir and within this space are mostly choir members. How do we stop singing to the choir and go about creating a voice outside that will foster and nurture change? How do we release the potential energy of technology/the web so that it becomes a viable vehicle for true educational reinvention?

I found a simple definition of inertia , “An object that is not subject to any outside forces moves at a constant velocity, covering equal distances in equal times along a straight-line path.” Tech/the web is moving along slowly because so many are trying to “fit it in” or use it to simply to do what they are already doing, just differently. The power of Tech/the web is that we can use it to re-conceptualize our learning architectures so that they become powerful and visionary – creating what now doesn’t exist.

You are in a position to do that, to make a change where it is needed – be a revolutionary in your class . . . sing outside of the choir. And, not to sound too grandiose and melodramatic, then go on to teach these possibilities to those around you.

– Greg

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One thought on “The EdTech Lament

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  1. I have debated internally about whether to post a discussion in the class about this topic. I don’t mind offending the teacher but considering she is also my advisor puts a little stranglehold on what I can say and how subversive I can be. Aren’t colleges the places where thoughts go to expand? I think they are, at least for students, but most of my teachers have always been super conservative so questioning them has never done anything except get me in trouble 🙂

    I’m getting better at preaching to those outside the choir. Now I just need to get great at it.

    I’m presenting at NECC (poster session on this) and hopefully at Virtual Schools Symposium for the 2nd time. I am active at my school but not super vocal. I need to be.

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