Sunday, November 16, 2014

On being a tech specialist not obsessed with technology

There's no doubt about it, I'm a gadget girl.  I love my iPhone, my iPad, my Chromebook and my MacBook Pro.  I like finding new apps - mobile and web.  I really love teaching people something they didn't know before.  But, (you knew that was coming, right) I am not obsessed with technology.  I don't stand in days long lines to get the new release.  I wait patiently for my upgrade before getting a new phone. I usually wait until I my iPad is not longer supported before getting a new one.

Want to know what I AM obsessed with? Curriculum, standards, excellent teaching and what's best for kids.  When technology is a part of those things, that's awesome. But technology does make any of that stuff happen. Not by a long shot.

As a matter of fact, sometimes, technology can interfere with those things. Subbing in a drill and kill website isn't any better than a drill and kill worksheet. A flashy app may keep a kid interested a little longer but wouldn't ignite a passion for learning. 

Teachers do the hard and wonderful work of connecting with kids, insuring that they master the appropriate standards, help them when they don't and helping ignite passions. 

Teachers, don't buy the lie that using a certain machine or app will change your classroom. YOU + a machine or app + solid pedagogy CAN change your classroom. You are the professional. You keep up with research and best practices. You know the latest brain research. You know how to reach kids. Don't trade that power for something touted as a "game changer". 

You are the game changer. 

Stay current. Update your practices. You wouldn't see a doctor who doesn't keep up with medical research, right? But don't lose your mind. Remember - all good things in moderation. Don't go too far to either end of the spectrum. 

Where does all this leave me? Frankly, between a rock and a hard place. I try to share tips and tools that will make you a better teacher. I try to share the how and why a tool should be used.   It's how I serve. Sometimes the "game changers" and their flashy tools are louder. They seem to dominate the landscape. It can be discouraging. Not because they get more attention. But because teachers buy their lies. To be fair, I don't think that they think they are lying to teachers. I believe, and hope, they believe they are helping teachers. They may well be. But, when teachers feel inferior and pressured to go to extremes, they aren't helping kids. They are aren't helping teachers. 

As for me, I'll keep plugging away. Serving kids by helping their teachers to be better.

What about you, what should you do?  Seek a balanced approach.  Be discerning.  Don't buy the snake oil.  Keep doing what's best for kids (even when it's hard for adults).  And, as my friend Zach Snow says, Don't forget to be awesome! 


  1. loooooooove this!! verbs, not nouns!

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