Technology is just a tool
About a month ago, classroom teacher and technology expert Bill Ferriter wrote a blog that has been generating a ton of comments all over social media and within ed-tech circles. In his blog, Technology Is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome, Ferriter included the simple infographic above and wrote that “The motivation behind this image was to remind teachers that carefully thinking through just want we want our kids to know and be able to do is the FIRST STEP that we need to take when making choices about the role technology plays within the classroom.
The blog has now been shared thousands of times, with many thousands of comments. Some of the more interesting comments focused on a theme that ANY technology in the classroom would be an improvement. What do you think? Do you agree with that?
Students today are certainly attracted by technology. And why not? They’ve been around it all of their lives. But at the end of the day all the technology in the world is not going to change and improve learning outcomes unless teachers look for ways to use it that achieve some of the “right answers” on Bill’s list.
The good news is that we think we’re on a path to do that. Simple, easy-to-use tools such as our own LectureTools help teachers actually have conversations with their students and create a greater sense of inclusion within the classroom. It’s just one tool that helps students do what Ferriter says students want to do: to interact with a group of like-minded peers.
At the end of the day, technology has to be simple, unobtrusive and easy-to-use. It can’t be a shiny distraction that gets in the way of learning. It has to be as simple as using a telephone has become. When I pick up the phone, all I want is a dial-tone. I don’t care about how the electrons work.
Technology is just a tool. But, it’s an important tool in the modern classroom, one that teachers cannot ignore. And great teachers look to use every tool in their kit to maximum advantage.