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EdTech Update




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Elevator speech for educational technology

An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds and 100-150 words) Wikipedia


Once again the Blue Skunk answers letters from the technology-lorn. (Sort of like love-lorn, only much more pathetic.)

Hello Mr. Johnson,

I am doing some research and working on formulating a sort of “mission statement” concerning the use of technology in the public school arena for a class ... . I would very much appreciate your “working perspective” on why technology should be funded and supported by the taxpayers in these days of budget cuts and really having to look at what is absolutely important to teach our children. ... I’m sure your thoughts on this are well-constructed and insightful [such flattery guarantees a response], and I would very much appreciate knowing more about them.

Thank you for your time!


My response:

Hi Sandy,

First, I would direct you to Maslow and Motherboards, an article I wrote for MultiMedia Schools back in 2003. As sad as it sounds, my thinking about why and how technology is important in schools has not changed much since then.

I would stress three main reasons why we need to continue to invest in carefully selected technologies:

  1. We are just beginning to benefit from the administrative uses of technology. Beyond simply doing attendance and grades online, teachers are using technology to keep in touch with parents and to track performance on sufficiently granular levels to meaningfully differentiate instruction for individual students.
  2. Learning to use technology to solve problems and answer questions, communicate effectively, and become self-teaching is important for every student to master vocationally, academically and personally. The person who cannot use technology well to amplify natural abilities is at a true disadvantage.
  3. Today’s generation of student demands an engaging, interactive learning environment. Technology provides this easily and effectively.

I hope this helps. I am not sure how well constructed or insightful these comments are, but they are short.

What I sent to Sandy is basically my "elevator speech" about why I think educational technology is important.

How does your elevator speech go? About technology, libraries or whatever you are passionate about? Share it if you would...

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Reader Comments (6)

I usually add something about how technology opens doors for those of us with LD's that might otherwise not be able to master material. Spell check and typing have really helped with my dysgraphia. Typing eliminates some of the fine motor problems associated with the dysgraphia. I have found that by typing a word 5 - 10 x, I master the spelling. Writing it by hand was physically painful and that blocked any learning.

February 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkimberly

Hi Kimberly,

Adaptive/adoptive technologies should have been among my “big” reasons. Thanks for the reminder.

All the best,


February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson


I very much like items one and two from above, but cringe a little when I look at number three:

Today’s generation of student demands an engaging, interactive learning environment. Technology provides this easily and effectively.

Given that you authored a post not too long ago about how the "it" of technology really matters little compared to the "how it is used", I am surprised at a statement that makes it seem like the "it" will simply do all the work. How often have you worked with a technology implementation that just didn't really seem to make a lasting impact? Is it possible that we want the easy solution to what ails us, and in reality, nothing about this is easy?

Lastly, I don't believe (in my opinion) the technology makes an engaging learning environment; but it is the skillful educator who worked dang hard to analyze what a child needs, carefully selected a technology which let that child uncover him/herself, and carefully assessed that progress.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Hi Joel,

I don’t disagree – it is the skillful educator who creates engaging work.

My thought is that when kids use technology to create (word processing, data management, photo and video editing, etc.) they are more engaged because they are doing, not just listening. Good computer gaming and learning software also demands input from the user, not just a passive observation.

I guess we are just looking at the odds here, and I think the odds of technology use being more engaging are greater than that of traditional methods of instruction. But I am certainly not overly confident of this!

All the best,


February 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Great reasons on why technology in the classroom is essential, especially the 3rd reason! Many students are naturally drawn to technology and it seems as if they are constantly on Facebook, MySpace, texting etc. Their interest in technology is a great way to engage them in your lesson. One of our contributors at the TI Teachers Lounge discusses the importance of technology in the classroom and even lists some fun activities. To read what she has to say visit:

March 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTI Teaches

Hi TI,

Thanks for the link!


March 5, 2009 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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