1. The most successful technology intensive programs with which I have been associated didn’t start by looking at technology. Teachers and administrators started by looking at pedagogy and outcomes. The questions they asked were basic and vitally important: “What do we want students to look like when they graduate?” and “How do we want to teach?” A technology solution wasn’t imposed on them. They asked for it because it was the clear choice for getting where they needed–wanted–to go. There are many other instances of technology intensive programs that have not lived up to expectations, and these are typically in systems in which a teacher or administrator thought about technology first and pedagogy second, if at all.

    All this by way of saying that if teachers don’t ask for the technology as part of a clearly defined process of teaching and learning, it will probably never be as successful as it could be. Ubiquity is important, but it will not insure any sort of success on its own. Go for the compelling invitation first.

  2. Thanks for the comment Skip. I agree with you and I worry all the time about it becoming “about the technology”. The problem is that my reality isn’t quite as neat and tidy as your example. My role is to support teachers integrating technology; I am not a curriculum director. When teachers look at me they think technology. In this role I am trying to shift the conversation around to the question of “why should we bother using this technology if we are just doing the same old thing?” and I feel this conversation is gaining some traction.

    It also seems to me to be a bit of a chicken and egg dilemma. It can sometimes be hard to get teachers to really buy into changing the way their teach (especially if they have been doing it the same way for years) based on a greater vision. But if they have access to the technology and start to realize how powerful it is, then they might start wanting to change their pedagogy in order to really leverage it’s potential. Do you think this might work?

  3. Wendy Robertson

    Hi Phil,
    I’m impressed with your blog-way to go! I have pondered your question, “why should we bother using this technology if we are just doing the same old thing?” and I agree with you that the conversation is gaining some traction. I don’t think it is worth the effort to change if we are doing the same old thing–we need to change and create a feeling that change must happen. My recommendation based on readings by Pink (you mentioned Drive), Fullen’s, The Six Secrets to Change and the Heath brothers’, Made to Stick require you to boil down your moral purpose for wanting this change. Why is it important? Yes it is the chicken and egg thing, but you must know why it is important and with time (be patient), change will happen. Just don’t lose sight of your moral purpose.
    This opens up a whole BIG conversation. Exciting!
    I am willing to try new things in technology. I just need to know why ( I think I already know) and how (this is where I’m stuck).

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