Another dot in the blogosphere?

Going through the motions

Posted on: May 26, 2020

Today I reflect on how an article about spraying disinfectant on streets mirrors a negative edtech practice.

The short answer to the question above is no. A more detailed answer is in the article linked in the tweet.

The spraying is largely a show of action with little, if any, effect. The same could be said of most instances of enacted policy. These result in empty shows that engage or impress people in the short term, but do not empower in the long term.

I focus on schooling and education. We still reach for the low-hanging fruit of edtech that is showy for teachers and not necessarily meaningful for learners. Take, for example, “interactive” white boards, clickers for responding to PowerPoint presentations, and “interesting” YouTube videos.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the tools except that they are created for the teacher and teaching. These are the first line of tools that a teacher can showcase if she is observed by visitors, peers, or superiors.

But the more powerful tools are mundane and insidious. They are used every day by learners outside the classroom. We might include Instagram and TikTok in this category. Attempts to formally integrate these into the curriculum, particularly attempts that go through the motions, might result in rejection or ridicule.

This is one reason why using educational technology is easy and integrating it is difficult. This is why professional development tends to focus on use by improving skillsets instead of also working on integration by changing mindsets.

1 Response to "Going through the motions"

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