A fifth-grade teacher who embraces technology for its benefits, though also expresses skepticism, wonders whether she’s considered a technophobe. She writes:

“Accuse me of being a tech resister, a slow adopter, or an ‘old school’ educator for raising these questions. But I am not afraid of technology… We need to stop oversimplifying the role tech plays in our students’ lives. A deeper, more thorough, look at tech’s benefits and trade-offs is needed. What are we potentially sacrificing when we do not carefully guide our children’s use of their devices? Student engagement is an empty notion if we are not asking how they are being engaged. Are outcomes enhanced because of the addition of a specific technology, or hindered? We should be filtering our use of technology through this kind of inquiry. As a teacher of 26 years, my central question has always been: “What is the most effective way to teach this material?”

Educational-technology enthusiasts are regularly making a case against teachers who refuse to get on the tech bandwagon. They quickly dismiss anyone who does not wholeheartedly embrace every element of this new educational frontier. They raise questions regarding the professional flexibility of these “resisters.”

Read more at: www.edweek.org

  • MsVictoriaOlson

    Interesting point. A lot of teachers on staff at our K-7 school would also consider themselves “technophobes.” When challenged with the idea of tech integration, their response is that they can’t even begin to envision what it would look like. Whether you’re at that point or not, good questions to ask before you begin integrating are: 1) What does tech does FOR us and 2) What it does TO us? As you say, students need to be guided – taught about safety and appropriate use of devices just as we teach them about personal safety or road safety. Give them tools to help them learn the materials rather than making the device the singular pivotal component to the lesson. It is up to each individual teacher to find the ‘how’ of student engagement through the way their lesson is presented. Remember the mantra “Everything in moderation”? Apply here 🙂

  • While I am one of the more outspoken advocates of technology on our campus, I’m also at the front of the line when it comes to being skeptical of new pushes to bring tech into the classroom – and to be quite honest I think we would all benefit from having more active “technophobes” (your word not mine!) out there. Not too long ago several districts (and this still is happening) decided to put iPads in everyone’s hands, and because few people resisted it happened. After the fact, those schools/districts were stuck for some time trying to figure out what exactly they were supposed to do with all those iPads.

    My opinion, then, is a district, campus, tech committee, whatever should be extremely wary of adopting any new tech or policy if no one in the room is standing up and questioning what exactly the point of that adoption is. If you aren’t asking “How will this improve learning” then you’ve really missed the boat…

    Great read, thanks for posting this!

  • branedy

    True, throwing technology at teachers who know nothing about it is useless, but NOT doing it is just as useless. How may schools still use computers to teach ‘typing’ as the primary skill? Active teacher training now, because the students will learn it faster than the teachers, without their guidance!

  • justjack

    This is indicative of the lack of imagination. See http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/05/the-future-of-tablets-in-education-potential-vs-reality/?utm_content=bufferf65cb&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer right here on this very site. It’s a matter of planning and crowd-storming the implementation and new ways of processing how the tech is BEST used to aid in the learning process.

    Why not ask one of those nerdy kids for their input? I have and they have all sorts of ideas for making devices actually useful as a tool and medium.

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