I remember the days when I was not a very big believer in educational technology. For one, I saw the use of tools just as a means to become more efficient at delivering instruction. Man, could I rock a PowerPoint lecture. As Chris Lehmann says, “You deliver pizzas, not instruction.” Boy, did I have it all wrong. As I moved from the classroom to administration, I still saw technology from a mere delivery aspect. My goals were all about replacing overhead projectors with LCD projectors and screens or interactive whiteboards. Updating the few computer labs was also a priority so students could complete projects using the Internet in a safe, controlled environment.
From 2004 through 2008, I basically rubber-stamped the status quo while adding a splash here and there of technology. My personal views towards social media and mobile devices remained unhinged during this time, as I was adamantly opposed to both. Not only did I run around the halls of my school taking devices away from terrified students who dared to take them out during the instructional day, but I also helped write the policies that blocked many social media sites. To say I had a fixed mindset would be a gross understatement. Enlightenment eventually came in the form of a little blue bird. The informal learning in digital spaces taught me about the real role technology could play in our transformational process. Social media was my savior and helped me to develop a growth mindset.
Technology is a fantastic tool that when integrated with purpose can support and enhance learning in ways that many of us never imagined. With all tools there are limitations as to what they can do. As I have said over and over, I truly believe that pedagogy trumps technology, especially in the classroom. Success is inherent upon how students and educators use tools to transform teaching, learning, and leadership. The successful digital transformation that took place at my school is well documented. However, I am the first to acknowledge that the most significant catalyst for change that resulted from our entry into the edtech world was a new lens to critically reflect on professional practice.
Continue to read Eric’s account of the value of EdTech in his school