Like anything else that just doesn’t mean what it once did, the term “educational technology” has come under attack. It comes under attack, not from the newest in the field, not the newly certified doctorates or master’s degreed students, but from the veterans who’ve been getting technology trenchfoot while waiting for the rush across noman’s land to rescue the lost from themselves. The attack comes in the form of a simple question from Tim at Assorted Stuff:

We say we want students to be able to communicate and collaborate, to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to become creative and innovative in their work.

Do we really need special “edtech” to make that happen?

Or just a better understanding of how people in the real world are using all kinds of technology to improve their personal skills in all those areas and how to help our students learn to do the same.

Maybe, just like our tech standards that linger from the previous century, the whole concept of “educational technology” is outdated and obsolete.

You might as well ask questions like the ones below….

  1. Did the Lone Ranger need Tonto as he rode into danger?
  2. Would the Canterbury Tales been half so interesting if they’d all taken the bus?
  3. Would we still be living in caves if some brave soul hadn’t eaten the first oyster?
  4. Was Don Quixote an idiot or a hero in a land of cowards? Was Walter Mitty his descendant?
You see what these questions are, right? They are questions that only matter for the purposes of a conversation. I’ve heard many reasons–some of which I’ve espoused myself–for the end of edtech as we know it. In truth, we’re not facing the end of edtech as we know it because it’s been ineffective, but because our understanding of education and how it connects to the world is increasingly inaccurate, ineffective in helping us predict success or failure.
It may be that we will look back on Tim’s blog entry and say, “You know, this was the beginning of our understanding…that educational technology wasn’t the first to be judged obsolete, but the first to realize, among all the disciplines, that our entire approach to teaching, learning and leading was obsolete.”
Yes, when we look back at Tim’s blog entry, we’ll see a beacon of hope, that one man (Tim), scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage to help all the other educators know what was happening to them.

Listen to the Song:


Image Source for Don Quixote:

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure