Another dot in the blogosphere?

Not powerful, not edtech

Posted on: November 4, 2019

An “interactive” white board (IWB) is not necessarily edtech. It is vendor-speak for change without really changing and controlling from the front.

An IWB reinforces teacher talk, but with more whizz-bang. It enables the all-eyes-on-me approach. These are not wrong in themselves, but they are not progressive or effective (see Hattie, example).

Vendors might also provide training, or worse, get other teachers to convince their peers to sell the idea that IWBs can be student-centered. How? By inviting kids to tap it select an item and return to their seats.

This does not illustrate the power of edtech because it merely replaces and possibly enhances a chalk board. The power of edtech is empowering students to create and critique content. It does not look like the punitive and irrelevant punishment of repeated writing.

But the tweet and GIF does reveal an important truth: Kids find ways to creatively undermine what adults want them to do. The adults might label this as wrong and seek to power their will over that of the kids.

The ed in edtech often lies in educating with the technology, not just by the technology. Its power is in working with and learning from the kids in exploring possibilities, not retracing tired and old paths.

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