I’ve been away…
Like everyone else you hear from on the internet, I’ve been busy. But I’ve also been frustrated by the hamster wheel of edtech. I’ve been blogging and working online for a decade. In the beginning we were excited and fascinated by possibilities for education that we hadn’t imagined before.
But we soon got bogged down. We were distracted by shiny apps and gadgets. We were thrown off course by political agendas, by standardized testing and curriculum changes. The internet changed around us. It moved from being open and international; changing to become more closed and corporate and app-y. And don’t even get me started on issues of surveillance and privacy.
We lost our way in edtech, sacrificing openness and connections and networks for ease of use and closed ecosystems.
We used to say that the tools don’t matter, but I don’t agree with this anymore. The tools do matter. They matter in what we learn to do, how we learn to use them and in the control that they give us over our connections and our content.
I think we need to get back to basics when it comes to edtech. I don’t mean that we need to give up and abandon it all. I have a classroom filled with laptops, microphones, cameras and robots: I have no intention of giving them all up. But I do think that we need to get back and think about why we want to use technology in our classrooms. What benefit does it have? Why is it worth our limited time and limited dollars? Our story has fragmented into a thousand directions. This makes our community rich and filled with possibilities, but it also poses the danger that others will create an agenda for us.
Edtech isn’t about ipads or chromebooks or a suite of apps. It’s about kids and the connections they create with content and with each other. It’s time to take stock.