Are we in or on an edtech bubble? When is it going to finally pop?
While I grow into my new role, I’ve been hyper critical of a lot more. I’m not sure why. I’m sure a lot of it has to do with budgets, man power, and capacity…but I’d like to think that it’s because I’m seeing things from a different angle.
So much effort is being put into evaluating apps and arguing over which device is better, I’m starting to feel a little jaded. It’s not that I’m bored, it’s just that I’ve had my fill of these discussions and I’m ready to look beyond all of this.
When I was in the classroom, nothing could stop me. You couldn’t tell me, “No. That’s not possible." I would find a way and from somewhere, somehow the technology would be there and off we went. I was spoiled. (Disclaimer: I wrote grants. Lots of them. But spoiled none the less.) I’ve gone through spells of infatuation (even obsession) for the latest and greatest tool or app. I’d use them with students and teachers. I’d blog about it. I’d tweet about it. I’d present about it. And then, like yesterday’s lunch, it was forgotten.
Granted, you’ll still find me using things like Google Apps, or Evernote, or my iPad. But that’s because they found a way to make themselves useful in more than just my classroom. They became habits. They became routine. And most importantly, they became effortless. It doesn’t take me 20 minutes to spin up a shared doc or take a quick photo of student work.
And to me, that’s it. I think we are putting way too much effort into which app or apps (go on…say, “app smashing"...I dare you) students should be using to complete some of the simplest tasks. We are still getting lost in the how, instead of letting the kids find the how while we focus on the why and what.
And another thing, testing is real. It isn’t going away anytime soon. I wish I could ignore Smarter Balance in my role, but I can’t. It is difficult for me to see the stress and pressure that schools feel to prepare kids for this test…over the excitement and joy that we should feel preparing our kids for more meaningful learning. Labs are turning into typing classes, and computers are seen as “secure browsers" instead of gateways to the world. I’m sure that this isn’t happening everywhere, but it is in MY district.
Where would we be, where would my district be, if our efforts were focused more on why and what our kids were learning? Where could we be if the tools were just seen as tools, and just like any other tool, was used when necessary and not just because? Do we find ourselves forcing technology into our classrooms and schools? I think we do. The discussions we’re having and the trainings we’re delivering need to be on the learning, not around the learning.
There is so much more swirling around my head. So much more things to say, but sometimes the fog has to settle before you can take another step. Hopefully some of this makes sense. Hopefully some of it doesn’t.