When Can We Stop Talking About Technology?

When will technology stop being something extra?

Technology integration has been a big part of my life both personally and professionally.  In my personal life I use Google and Apple products to make a crazy life with three kids more manageable.  These innovations in family management certainly make life just a little easier and are just a part of how our family operates.

Google Apps, Blackboard, and Apple all are great tools for schools and improving teaching and learning.  Having used both Google and Blackboard in the classroom I can say that these “technology” tools made learning better in my classroom.

If we see technology being used seamlessly in society, and people adopt technologies as a part of how they live, then why is technology seen as something extra in education?

Let’s look at the medical industry.  Technology and innovation are not seen as an extra part of practice, but rather it becomes the standard in how the industry operates.  There is no choice, rather people in the medical field must advance WITH the technology, and not BECAUSE of the technology.  Doctors, nurses, and hospitals must stay on the cutting edge of innovation, because if they do not, they will lose patients.  Innovation is commonplace, and the medical industry has advanced as a result.  Would you rather see a doctor with the knowledge and technology of 2014 or 1994?

Look at one more, and ver important, aspect of the medical analogy.  Even with all the innovation and technology advancement the most important part of the medical industry is………people.  Doctors, nurses, and other support personnel are still the most important part of patient care.

The same can be said of teachers.  Even with technology and innovation in the classroom, it takes a teacher that values relationships with their students as one of their core values.  When this happens it is possible for technology to disappear and become just a part of “the way we do business”.

At times teachers might look at technology as an event, or something to do. Here are only a few of the important roles of technology in schools: 

1.  Allows teachers to become more efficient.

2.  Allows students to demonstrate learning.

3.  Allows schools, parents, students, and teachers to communicate in multiple ways.

When will schools get to the point where technology is not an add on?  When will teaching and learning with technology just become the way that we do business?  Can we ever stop using the word technology?  

Let’s try this exercise—let’s substitute the word innovation for technology in the following “examples”: 

—Google Drive/Docs is a new innovation (technology) that allows students to work efficiently together.

—iPads are an (a) innovation (technology) that allows students to create and demonstrate their learning.

—Innovation (Technology) allows students to create, communicate, and collaborate easier.

—Innovation (Technology) allows students and teachers to be more efficient in their work.

Technology can be a polarizing word.  It is a great equalizer and enabler for some, while a source of fear and distrust for others.  Not all technology moves learning forward, but if educators start to look at technology not as an add on, but a way to push their craft forward, teaching and learning will improve.