Evaluating technology for education… Trend is wrong!

New teachers… Seasoned Veterans… Educators talk a lot about the importance of knowing what you want to do with the technology before implementing it. I have said it!.. Decide what you want students to do and then find the technology to do the job well. Technology is a tool and we need to use the right tool for the right job… Right? Does this philosophy hold us back at all though?

As a result of the work that I have been doing through the IEAR.org community and as a District Technology Faciliator, I continue to think that this philosophy holds education back in many ways. While I remain convinced that we need to define what we want our students to do, we also need to continue to appreciate that we understand how to use technology better when we just use it as well!

Over the years, I have had numerous interactions with educators in which the person has an excuse/reason for not doing something with technology because they already do something without it or with a different form of technology. Too often we have predetermined ideas on what will work well and we prevent ourselves from “change” or “improvement”. I once had a librarian tell me that she would never purchase any “e-book” capable devices or books in her library because she loved holding a book in her hand. She couldn’t imagine people not having that feeling. Isn’t it interesting to note that Amazon is now selling more digital books than it is wood, paper and pulp books! While school teachers and staff interact and does more workflow over custom apps like EdQuants to reduce paperwork and be able to organize more info in less time. Sometimes we just need to try something different and explore what is being offered!

TechCrunch reports, “Director Caruso says the initial purchase (iPad) was more for fun, but as he used the iPad more and more, he found he was doing a lot of his filmmaking work on it as well. “I got it, I don’t want to say as a toy,” he says, “but then I realized about a week into prep that my storyboards were coming on it, my previous was on it, my script was on it, I don’t carry my script anymore.””

I think we need to approach technology in education in a similar manner and we have to have the most creative open minded do the evaluation of our technology. iDevices provide experiences that are just unmatched in many ways.

Check out the list of the latest “educational apps and ask yourself, are these really that helpful? Can these apps be replicated on other traditional education technology? What categories were these apps in? If they are educational in some fashion, would we have found them by talking solely about what we want kids to do? Would have really gotten to them through that focus?

We need to appreciate the creative approach towards evaluating technology and we need to appreciate just diving into it. Technology makes the biggest impact when you begin to understand how it can transform you in ways that were unexpected.

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