Monday, August 30, 2010

It's Not About the Technology

My organization, A Pass Educational Group, has recently been asked to work with a major publisher designing instruction for blended courses. Today I was looking at an outline of a seminar on blended learning and I realized that the author understood the role of technology in learning. The author articulated an objective as, "Making the technology fit the skills you need to engender."

It's not about the technology. It is about mastering specific knowledge and skills. Technology is only beneficial if it helps students fulfill this mastery.

Years ago, I had a conversation with my mother who is not an educator but is a very smart person. I told her that I thought that every school should have a computer class for every grade, just as every grade has a math class. My mother correctly told me that I was wrong. Unlike math, computer/technology is not an end in and of itself. Rather it is something that promotes the learning of something else. (In a different blog post, I can consider whether or not elementary and high school knowledge should ever be an end in itself.)

My mother knew many years ago that technology is not an end in itself. But, interestingly many school districts and curriculum developers continue to look at computers, Web 2.0, and technology as meaningful in their own right. My friend Michael Johnson has told me that he always tells schools that have stand-alone technology plans that they are going to fail. For technology is not meant to stand alone.

I think that my work on the blended courses is off to a good start. For my colleagues obviously know what they are talking about.

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