Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why Wouldn't I? Thoughts on Using Technology for Technology's Sake

Frequently I'll hear the statement, "We shouldn't be using technology for technology's sake." There is no argument that educators must be purposeful in their intent when it comes to lesson planning in order to meet district and state mandates while continuing to design learning opportunities for students that are engaging and authentic. Much credence has been given to this statement and, with the advent of applications that often mimic low level thinking skills like word searches, then I might agree. But technology and access to technology has changed and lately I'm beginning to feel like this statement is more of a crutch or reason not to use technology than one that is truly focused on the educational goals and outcomes of learning. The only people I hear making this statement are those either resisting the use of technology or those trying to convince the resistors to use the technology and letting them know the intent is purposeful. I'm not convinced this statement is doing much to help children learn. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's slowing teachers down and giving students yet another reason to lose interest in school and learning.

The use of technology in education has helped me be more effective with my time and organization. It has aided in my teaching and learning by bringing countless resources to my fingertips just in time for upcoming lessons and units. When a new application or device becomes available I'm interested in it's use because I want to increase my productivity, get more connected or simply investigate a new way of doing something. Students should be using technology to raise awareness of issues relevant to them by starting conversations and taking action. Students need to use the technology in order to find answers to questions and connect with like minded (or not) people. The idea of using technology for technology's sake has never let me down because technology is brilliant and opens doors to unimaginable places and things, especially in the classroom. And, if the technology takes a bit of time to learn and perhaps even slows me down for a bit, I consider myself better off because I've spent some time in the problem solving/troubleshooting mode and come out on top.

If I consider the fact that teachers are professional, able bodied learners whom I trust to create lessons that focus on learning and critical thinking, why wouldn't I want them to use technology for technology's sake? One creative idea will often lead to another and so it goes in a technologically rich, connected classroom that collaborates and produces and shares incredible pieces of work because a teacher isn't fearful of using technology, sometimes just for technologies sake. Why wouldn't I?


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