Technology Wagging the Dog? Published 2006-09-01

I have been attending conferences on education technology for many years (anyone remember the Hypercard-like application Linkway?).  The most prevalent type of session offered is one that focuses on how to use a particular piece of software and/or hardware.  Little if any time is spent on how the technology affects learning. Even at a recent session by Sara Anderson (who I greatly respect) on digital storytelling, questions focused on how to create the stories and where to get copyright-safe media.  Little time was spent on the underlying educational concepts fostered by digital storytelling or how one might incorporate this wonderful teaching tool into the curriculum.

The trend to focus on the technology is not limited to conferences.  I have attended many meetings lately with “technology experts” at several highly respected schools.  In each meeting, the conversation was limited to software and hardware.  Any attempt to move the discussion toward a strategic vision with a focus on learning was met with glassy eyes at best and most often a dismissive “we will talk about that later”. 

WAKE UP!  The important stuff is the learning.  Start with educational goals and then discuss the technologies that will advance these goals.  Why make blogs, wikis, and or general websites available to teachers if there is no discussion (or training) on how they can be used to benefit the learning process?

The source for bringing this topic up was a discussion on "integrating technology". Worth reading:
Diane Quirk – “The Ways We Talk About Technology
Dave Warlick – "Foundations" and "What About Integrating?"