#edtech, star trek and the matrix

So #edtech is a big deal lately.

From what I can tell, #edtech is the idea of using technology in the classroom. There are all kinds of thoughts and opinions about different technologies usefulness and effectiveness to student learning.

Some argue for full tech engagement, others shy away completely. I’ve heard voices inquire about where we educators are supposed to find the time to add another layer to our classes. Who finances all this tech?

There are arguments that say #edtech can help the environment. There are rebuttals to these. There are studies that make one claim or another on any and all arguments.

In the end, there is large disagreement on whether or not we (educators) need to jump on the tech band wagon.

__________________________________________________

missing the forest for the trees

I have a hard time engaging in this debate. From my humble point of view, it misses the point.

I would argue that the job of a modern English language teacher is to help students navigate their world through the medium of English. It isn’t about using technology to teach students, it’s about teaching students how to understand, decipher and decode English when using technology.

If looked at through this prism, teaching with technology becomes just another avenue in which to connect with our students. It also helps us connect our students with the greater English speaking world. By preparing them with the skills and tools necessary to interact in the digital age, we better prepare them to communicate successfully in a medium that THEY WILL UTILIZE whether we teachers are comfortable with the technology or not.

The world never stops moving forward. We get older, our students don’t.

Some technology is certainly useful for SOME student learning, just as (and I dislike saying it) some textbooks are useful. Bad technology is as bad as a bad book.

It’s the teachers job to keep up to date and make the determination of what will be useful for their students.

the borg

the Borg

That said, #edtech is certainly not about to replace the need for teachers or face to face contact with ones peers. That won’t happen until we all turn into the Borg.

If we see our job as helping our students navigate the world they find themselves in outside the classroom, we certainly shouldn’t keep technology out of the classroom.

Regardless of the argument, the fact is that technology is here, has always been here, and will continue to be. The challenge for us is that technology is changing faster than ever. This fact does not necessitate that we need to become techie superstars. It does, however, mean the importance of building relationships with our students becomes even greater. For if we don’t, we cannot hope to keep up with all the ways they communicate, and if that happens, the effectiveness with which we teach deteriorates.

Technology is a resource. Teachers need to understand how students use technology to communicate if we want to better aid them in navigating the world of today and tomorrow.

red pill blue pillThere is no technology prescription. It’s not an all or nothing choice between the red pill and the blue pill.

Remaining flexible to our students needs and working to better understand the necessary technology to better serve those needs is what we should be focusing on. If we do that we are assured to remain relevant to our students.

There will be a place for a good old pen and paper for some time to come. There will always be a place for face to face contact. AND, technology will always be an important aspect of our lives.

We may not yet BE the Borg, but they are right about one thing.

Resistance is futile.

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6 thoughts on “#edtech, star trek and the matrix

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