I have ensured that I never say, “Technology is just a tool”, because I know the power it can have when used in meaningful ways. Don’t believe me? Watch as this boy hears for the first time and see how technology will transform his life from here on out.
Does technology seem like just a “tool” to the boy who spent his life with a stammer and then had a teacher give him an iPod that empowered him to speak in front of his classmates? (By the way, he ended up getting his own show.)
Or just a tool to Martha Payne, the young blogger who raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to feed children in Malawi?
Or so many other stories of people having incredible new opportunities that technology afforded them.
Yes, any technology is a “tool” if we are going to argue over semantics. But I rarely hear people talking about referring a pencil or a pen as a “tool” because we know that the ability to read and write is transformational to lives. But with new technologies, we can go a lot further than we have ever imagined. That is why I have been so focused on the idea of the “Innovator’s Mindset” recently; if we think differently about what these “tools” can afford our students, we can help them create opportunities that we could not have even imagined or had to access to when we were kids.
To create “different”, and ultimately “better”, we need to think different.
Sometimes I feel that when we say “technology is just a tool” as educators, we forget that our roles are much more than teaching a curriculum, but to not only help transform the lives of our students, but to help them create a better world. I believe that we need to inspire our kids to do something better, and ultimately, what they do, will inspire right us back. That takes a lot more than what any curriculum offers. That is why I become a teacher.
Technology will never replace great teachers, but technology in the hands of a great teacher can be transformational.
There is so much more we can do now with and for our students; we need to embrace that.