2012 Sometimes it is just about technology

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I'm struggling with extremes

For a number of months now I have been thinking about the notion "it's not about the technology".  These thoughts have come purely through Twitter and my involvement in more than one Professional Association. I am struggling to come to terms with this idea.

I am a geography teacher who has learnt how to use technology in the classroom.  I would struggle to go to a school which does not embrace techology the way the schools I have worked in to date.  This tells me it is about the technology - especially now as I have thrown out hundreds of folders of notes.

Even though I often want to talk about this  I feel it is politically incorrect  of me to focus on the technology tools first. I just feel I am in the minority. So I  bite my tongue in discussions and later see adoption taking place.  A mate of mine often said to me patience is a virtue.

If it is not about the technology what is it about?

Of course it is about learning, the students, pastoral care, good organisation, preparing students for examinations and for life beyond the school gate.  However, I am increasingly of the opinion  it is about the technology first.

The Zen in me believes in the  middle path though at the moment the Libran in me believes the scale to weighted too much in the direction of  "it's not about the technology"


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The extremes

For those promoting technology they often had to adopt the posture that "it is not about the techology" to simply get a foot in the door.  This was because of the resistance to adopting technolgy in the schools.  This was particularly the case a decade or so ago. Though I witnessed similar arguments  over the past five  years over the adoption of social media which is now almost mainstream.

For those not interested in using technology for learning the case was simple "its not about the technology" - hold the line and the fad will go away.  For a long time this worked and in some cases still works in whole schools or in individual departments in schools.

Both extremes used the same argument "its not about the technology" to achieve their  different goals.


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Now

Everywhere I look I see technology driving things first. Maybe I am just looking for things I want to see.

At the recent ULearn Conference only 6% of the delegates were ICT integrators though it could have easily just been a conference solely for those interested in learning technologies.  No matter what session I attended such as  literacies, learning,  pastoral care and  administration there was always a focus related to technology.  Whether it was digital multi-media for literacy, iPads for learning, digital citizenship for pastoral care or cloud computing for adminstration I often found myself in the middle of a chicken and egg discussion.

In the recent US Election I was aware of the use of technology to harness votes.  It was only after the election when I came across this very good article. It provided evidence of the time and money spent on the people and the technology to achieve the out come - though initially they did not know how things would unfold.  Once committed they then worked out how best used  the tools to get the job done and the outcome required.  They of course started with the question that they wanted more votes.  Both parties did but one  did it better than the other because I believe they put the focus on the technology first while the other party was not fully committed. Was the difference that one party went for it and the other took a more measured approach?  Both approaches have their place  and some times in seeking a middle way you need to make a decision.

I don't want to labour the analogy, however, now and then you just have to grab a piece of learning technology use it, upskill yourself, experiment , evaluate, perhaps toss it ,  hopefully improve it or find something else.

Sometimes there is just too much thinking  and posturing rather than just doing.




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