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It’s not about the device, it’s about the learning

As much as I love Twitter, sometimes it really irritates me. If your timeline is anything like mine, there will be a regular appearance of a tweet linking to some article or blog post telling other teachers how they’re doing it wrong. This is true of education technology as much as any other subject…

Mobile devices? Impossible. Tablets? Rubbish! Chromebooks? You must be joking. What you need if you’re in any way rational is this shiny device…

Ugh. I’m tired of it. Why? For two reasons. Firstly, if a teacher is using mobile devices, or tablets, or whatever, in their classroom, it’s because it’s the best they have access to and they are doing their best by their learners…please stop criticising them for it.

Secondly, it’s not about the device, it’s about the learning. It’s what you and the learners do with it that counts. Although using technology in the classroom does to some extent develop learners’ skills in using technology, this is of tertiary importance to me. What’s more important I think is developing the ability to look at the tech you have and be able to think “how can I make this do what I want to achieve?” and then work out how to make that happen. People quite often refer to me as having good IT skills, I would disagree, I would say I’m good at trying things out, tinkering, exploring and making them work for what I’m wanting to do as best I can. The way the world is today I would want my learners when faced with a new piece of tech to think “I wonder what I can do with this” and not “I don’t know how to use this”.

But most importantly of all, tech in the classroom has the potential to facilitate changes in pedagogy. It can help us to involve the learner in the learning process, to try enquiry or project-based learning, it can enhance the learning by removing barriers. If someone is achieving that with chromebooks (and they are), great. If someone is achieving that with tablets (and they are), fantastic. If someone is achieving that with mobile phones (and they are), brilliant. Let’s stop making them feel inadequate for the tech they have, and start talking instead about how these devices can help us to revolutionise learning and teaching. 

Let’s stop obsessing about devices, and focus instead on learning. 


So, what do you think ?