This post continues a conversation (with @rachelboyd @annekenn @MtManaia) in response to a tweet I posted after hearing the statement "technology is just a tool", referenced in more than one keynote this week.
I appreciate that this idea may have different meanings in different contexts however, I try to stay tuned to its use in rhetoric. It's very easy to say! What do we mean when we refer to technology as "just a tool" and how might this be interpreted?
If I default to technology as 'just a tool' I don't believe I am recognising the complexities that surround its use to support learning. That is:
- The professional learning and inquiry educators invest in to improve their ability to integrate new technologies as effective pedagogy.
- The increased opportunities for students to learn, create and share new knowledge and thinking when they not only have access to 'the tools' but also the support of teachers who are skilled and confident professionals.
"... although multimedia can act as an assistive technology, it cannot take the place of vision, talent, or skill, whether developed or inherited. We will always need to tell a story with our art and to tell it with honesty, depth, and detail if it is to survive as more than a transient, disconnected thought. For this reason, teachers will become more important as technology increases in power. More than ever, students will need teachers for their wisdom and knowledge to help navigate a purposeful path through the glitz and distraction". (Jason Ohler)
I originally used the video and quotes as a prompt in a breakout I facilitated at Learning@School in 2006. I had been wondering what might result if we explored this statement as a question and considered the actions of the teacher or the student, and how these actions might impact on the concept of technology as "just another tool".
In the hands of Jake Shimabukuro the ukelele is an amazing instrument. What does this say about his approach to learning?
What does your use of technology say about your learning?
"The ukulele itself, and those like Jake who play it so insanely well, represent both the struggle and the inspiration and delight that comes from blowing away other people's low expectations of you through your own hard work, unbridled passion, and dedication to excellence." (Presentation Zen, 2010: Jake Shimabukuro wows TEDxTokyo)