Pedagogy first, technology second

Cloud computing; Flipped classrooms, Personal Learning Networks; Digital portfolios – what do you think when you hear those words? Do you know what they are or do you find them a bit intimidating?

I found this article by Krista Moroder on Ed Tech Coaching and it really resonated with me. Titled Let’s Stop Talking about Teaching with Technology, and Start Talking about Teaching she describes how some people have confused technology with pedagogy and asserts that technology alone will not make someone a better teacher. Someone I know says that technology simply amplifies whatever you are doing, good or bad; used well it is very valuable, used badly it is actually worse than no technology.

Some excellent teachers are a little over-whelmed or even scared by technology but a little thought about what teaching’s core business actually is and the ways in which technology can enhance that should allay fears.

Good teachers create authentic learning experiences for their students by building rich, performance-based assessments. Good teachers encourage students to solve problems and take an active role in their own learning. Good teachers teach skills like critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and curiosity. Good teachers know how to create learner-driven environments where failure is considered learning and persistence is an expectation. Good teachers know how to inspire students and build a love for learning that can last a lifetime.

Moroder explains some of those slightly intimidating concepts as follows:

  1. Cloud computing is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to collaborate with students and staff
  2. Content managements systems are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to communicate with students and parents
  3. Personal learning networks are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to find and share resources
  4. Behavior management software is nothing more than finding a more efficient way to give formative feedback of soft skills and track student behavior
  5. Flipped classrooms are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to deliver direct content
  6. Electronic portfolios and digital quizzes are nothing more than finding a more efficient way to assess student knowledge

Technology should never be seen as an end in itself, simply it is (many many different) ways to enhance what you already do well.

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