A weekend Blue Skunk "feature" will be a revision of an old post. I'm calling this BFTP: Blast from the Past. Original post, March 2, 2009. (Be sure to read the comments from the original post.) As the tech department works ever more closely with our curriculum, teaching and learning, and professional development departments, this post makes an increasing amount of sense...
…technology is an accelerator of greatness already in place, never the principal cause of greatness or decline. – Newsweek, April 29, 2002
At a conference last week, Mark Weston from Dell computing stated that asking the question, "Does technology improve student learning?" is the wrong question.
The question should be, "Does technology support the practices that improve student learning?"
Is this a semantic trifle or is it actually profound? What are the implications for technology deployment and evaluation? What drives your tech planning? Should it be initiatives like these?
The direct link between information technologies and learning does not exist anymore than the direct link between a good stove and a good meal; a good automobile and a good vacation; a good word processor and a good book; or a good camera and good art.
This view, of course, has been expressed many times, in many ways. My own Tech Upgrade is one way; my advocacy for looking at best practices in the content areas, another. But I rather liked the simplicty of of Weston's alternate question.
Now if educators could only agree on what actual practices contribute to student learning, it would make the tech director's job a good deal easier.
And shouldn't all educators' efforts be bent toward that sole purpose?