When I was growing up, I always enjoyed books and movies about school and teaching; I would imagine many other teachers share this experience. A few favourites I can remember from the past and not so recent past include: Teacher Man: A Memoir, Stand and Deliver, Dead Poets Society, Freedom Writers, School of Rock (Yeah…I know), Inside Mrs. B.’s Classroom, and a host of others.
I can also remember many classroom moments when I have been re-energized about being a teacher. What these books, movies, and experiences all had, and continue to have in common, are that they deal with the pivotal moments that lead to learning for students.
Not one of these moments has ever been dependent on someone rolling an iPad cart into a room. This isn’t to say that technology doesn’t play a pivotal part in teaching and learning, but it is far less about having the technology so much as what you (have the students) do with the technology.
In my day to day conversations with teachers, I am finding the principle topic for discussion is increasingly becoming technology. I love to talk classroom technology but am getting tired of all the hardware talk taking over when there is more important things to discuss. While I am very much an advocate for technology in the classroom, I am more of an advocate for good teaching in the classroom.
As David Warlick has so succinctly stated: “We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”
Technology is only beneficial if it supports sound pedagogy and allows our students to do things they could not previously do. We all need to remember that it is not, and never has been, just about the tech.
I will leave the last words to Sir Peter Blake: “New technology is common, new thinking is rare.”