BY Dan Thomas
Is it the carpenter or the tool? Is it the arrow or the archer? The list goes on and on. However, as an avid golfer, it is easy to blame the equipment, good or bad. But is it the equipment's fault? Not entirely.
Teaching is and will always be an art. And just like any artist, you need tools to help you create your masterpieces. Artists need brushes, paints, canvases, and more. In teaching, education technology becomes the tool that helps in creating. Edtech cannot replace instruction but can help augment the process.
There are many tools available to teachers. As much as people want to believe, these tools will never replace the teacher. They are just a way to reach the students where they are. Edtech tools are there to augment the learning. But how do you know what tools to use and if they are impactful? You won't know until you try them in an actual situation.
Edtech tools are just that – a tool. They are not designed to replace the teacher. Instead, they are designed to augment the educational process. EdTech tools can be used to assist with the multiple learning styles that are present in every classroom.
Many teachers that I talk to are afraid of technology. Even go as far as to say, "I am not good with computers." I don't know how to use it. I don't have time to learn it. I have always done it this way. The excuses and reasoning go on and on. But let me ask you this…would you go to a doctor or mechanic that is not keeping up with the latest technology and skills available? It is the same in education. Just because we have always done it that way doesn't mean that way is the best or only way.
"If you give a man a hammer, everything looks like a nail." This quote from Abraham Maslow has been attributed to many people throughout history. When it comes to teaching, you need various tools in your toolbox. EdTech is just one more tool that you can use to help a student succeed. There is no one-size-fits-all here. It would be best if you had various tools, methods, and machinations to ensure learning. (More on what learning is comes in a later post.)
Here is a thought….why not try it and see how it works. It might be fantastic, but it might also be terrible. You won't know until you give it a shot. Isn't that what we are asking our students to do? Step outside their comfort zone. Try. Don't be afraid to fail. Be upfront with your students. Tell them, "We will give 'tool x' a shot today. It might be awesome or blow up in our face, but let's find out together." You might be amazed at what happens. They need to see you modeling the behavior and mindset that you are asking of them. If you don't try something new, neither will they.
Be the lead learner. Be the change. Be the teacher you wished you had.