It is not (only) about the technology…

…it is about the connections that you can make easily with people around the world and have an understanding of different people and cultures.

…it is about the ease of collaboration that is created through this medium that gives all students the opportunity to have meaningful roles in group learning.

…it is about increasing opportunities to communicate and develop deeper relationships with our local and global communities.

…it is about having an abundance of information and learning to evaluate what is beneficial and meaningful.

…it is about having more opportunities to create.

…it is about learning.

Technology is more than just a tool. We need to focus less on what we are using, and focus more on why we are using it.

(This post was edited through reading through the wisdom of the crowd…another reason that shows how through the use of technology our learning can become transformative)


cc licensed flickr photo shared by Capitan Giona

  • Faith

    George,
    I'm beginning to think that you're the only administrator in the world who gets it!! Thanx for giving us hope. Thanx for continuing to "spread the word!"

  • suifaijohnmak

    Hi George,
    Well said. It is through an understanding of different people and cultures that make the difference – in education and learning. Technology is just a tool, though it could help us in increasing such opportunities of connection – it is about increasing opportunities to communicate and develop deeper relationships with our local and global communities.

    John

  • shareski

    I'm not 100% sure about that statement. I know what you mean and I agree but i would argue that technology, in many ways fundamentally changes teaching and learning.
    The danger of the statement, "it's not about the technology" is that it often allows people to see technology as a add or or "nice to have" approach instead of understanding how it changes education.

  • http://2pointohteaching.blogspot.com Jared Nichol

    Perhaps it should read It's not (always) about the technology?

    • georgecouros

      How about “It is not (only) about the technology…”?

  • Chris Lehmann

    The way I like to say it is… "It's not about the technology… until it is."

    • georgecouros

      I like it :)

  • courosa

    There's a danger in saying 'technology is just a tool'. While I agree with many of your prior points, I don't agree with that one in particular – I don't think it flows from the same argument. If we take the stance that technology is just a tool, we disregard how technology has a role in driving our cultural and social values. See technology determinism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_determ… – and read McLuhan while you're at it. :-)

  • http://edVisioned.ca Andrew Forgrave

    Hmmmm. I wrestle with the "it's not about the technology" statement, too. Because while I believe passionately in learning (as distinct from being a student) and the critical need for us to focus on supporting and enhancing the learning process, I also believe that our choice to embrace technologies can make significant changes in how our learners go about their business of learning. I think this presents us with a need to significantly reflect upon our roles as educators, and the actions we undertake to support learning in this current context.

    If we look at the current technologies as revolutionary tools to support our learning and that of our learners, then we must carefully consider the potential of those tools in light of what we are trying to accomplish. I sometimes fear that the "it's not about the technology" statement is used to re-ground education in its historic role in society — and the subjugation of "technology" to the traditional role of schools hides the fact that it could very well play a disruptive (for the better) role in schooling. Certainly within learning.

    Back in the days of the Peripatetics, the technology was sandles. Later came the printed word. Did that change the how of learning, and what learning looked like, and the kind of thinking learners did? I wonder. Can we say that "it's not about the technology," and carry on? Or do we need to think a bit about what we really mean?

  • Tim Lauer

    Technology does change things quite a bit. I can see that it should not change the basic agreements and understandings that we have as we interact with one another. We should continue to be kind, caring and supportive of each other, as we work either face to face, or via technology, but technology changes things simply because if allows us to access one another in ways that were never really possible before. Because of technology I know you, I know your brother, I know your friend Dean. I have been able to share with them the wonder that is corn meal crust pizza. :-) I even know that guy Chris… :-)

    Without technology, this would never have happened. Without the technology, there are not connections… It's complicated… But the technology changes us… I believe it can allow us to be more connected, more human if that is what we value and want.

  • http://bit.ly/stefdigsub Shawn Urban

    I couldn't agree more, George. Too many people are pushing the technology and forgetting the reason for it.

    By the way, interesting Meebo interruption when I try to copy your post title. So, how do you prose I bookmark this post, with the highlighting disabled? (You are really expecting me to … type … :O …, are you? :-)

  • Nancy

    Looks like I would have to agree with George. I interpret this post to mean that we must always keep our students' learnng and understanding first and foremost in mind. and who knows? That might actually mean using something as non-tech as unifix cubes. ( wondering how the Tech-vangelists are feel about that?) .

  • @techieang

    We were just discussing this issue. While I agree its not only about the technology it's about the instruction. However, we can't do most of the things you listed without technology. So in the end, isn't it about the technology?

    • georgecouros

      Is writing about the pencil?

      • http://edVisioned.ca Andrew Forgrave

        Can there be writing without a writing implement? Recorded music? Pictures? Video?

        Even the Cave Man needed his/her pointy piece of charcoal.

      • shareski

        that analogy implies that technology is simply a communication tool. It's a lot more complex than that. Think about the role of technology in Egypt. It's a lot more powerful than simply communication. It's enabled a revolution. Partly in a few people understanding how it works and how it can create groups. Certainly there's a major component that is about communicating and those skills can be understood and developed without technology. But understanding the implications of using it goes way beyond simple communication.

        In the end, yes your post focuses on our role we play and you say so yourself when you state "Technology is more than just a tool" It is more than that. Those people that simply see it as a "new typewriter" miss much of its power and potential.

        I still love you. ;)

  • http://ransomtech.edublogs.org Steve Ransom

    I think Jerome Bruner had something when he described new computer-based technology as a "cultural tool" rather than simply a "tool". The drill is a tool… to drill holes and a few other things with the assistance of a few other attachments. The computer and Internet far more, as they impact how we think, what we think, how we approach problems of all sorts – both solving them and causing them, how we relate – or fail to relate, and so much more.

    "So, in a sense, the mere existence of computational devices (and a theory of computation about their mode of operating) can (and doubtless will) change our minds about how 'mind' works, just as the book did." The Culture of Education, p. 2-3)

  • Jessie Krefting

    I think that technology is a tool but like many of you have said, we need to remember why we are using it. Are we using it because it engages the students in their learning? Are we using it because in the real-world (as my husband and one of my students' parents has pointed out) business people and many other adults, are always connected via Blackberry or iPhone or whatever other device they choose to (or have to) use in order to stay connected with their workplace.

    I agree that technology is a tool that definitely changes the way in which we think, we learn, we communicate and we stay connected and I feel that it is necessary to remember these things that George has outlined when we implement any technology tool in our classrooms or our lives. It's just like when we are choosing tasks for students to do in the classroom. We must constantly ask ourselves, we are we doing this in order to ensure that it is not just a "fun" activity but that it relates or is tied to how the students are going to demonstrate their understanding.

  • Gerry

    Would it be different if the pencil was networked?

  • missateaches

    Now….how to help others understand that just because I use technology and talk about the benefits of technology, doesn't mean that I am unwilling to use traditional methods such as face to face time!!!

  • http://www.stumpteacher.blogspot.com Josh Stumpenhorst

    Great post and good conversation in the comments. This is a subject I often wrestle with. Too many folks want to jump on the technology bandwagon for the sake of being on the bandwagon. They think that having an IWB in their room makes them a better teacher. Tools are important, but their power lies in how they are used. A hammer is a great tool but if you are using it to open cans you will not be very successful.

    On the other hand, I think of doctors. The technology and “tools” of their professions have changed the way they do their jobs. Is it not appropriate to think that teachers should be using the most current and relevant technology for their jobs? Is it acceptable for teachers to dismiss technology tools as fads and ignore out of ignorance or indifference? Do teachers need to be employing the latest technology tools in their classrooms?
    At the end of the day though, it still comes down to how you are using the technology to improve student learning.

  • http://www.discoverlearnandplay.com eugene cantera

    George is right – technology in and of itself is not enough – it's content that makes or breaks any learning tool. Using technology to deliver quality information or connect users/students with professionals/teachers and/or a community of learners is what we do at discoverlearnandplay.com. My partners and I use technology to provide access to our brand of music education to folks from all over the world, but it is our expertise, experience, passion and moreover, the process that we've packaged and deliver that trumps the 'cool factor' of it being available on any internet ready device. I hope that teachers do not simply use technology for tech sake – they need to create quality programs and be intimately involved in the process for any value to translate to their students.

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