Monday, May 7, 2007

Educational Technology Vocabulary, revisited

Amen to the post on eSchool News, "Experts: Ed tech must change its message". (Thanks, Ryan Bretag for the heads up!) In the article, Dennis Pearce discusses the need to change our educational technology focus from tools to teaching. As technology trainers in our district, Ryan and I have been spending time trying to figure out how to do just that in our schools. The focus in technology integration has been, in my experience in the classroom and as a trainer, just that, "technology integration" -- not curriculum, not instructional design, etc. Our current mission, as I referenced in April, is to shift our focus to the teacher's instructional design, not the tools. A small but essential shift in our vocabulary can have a huge impact on that message. (Frankly, the content of my technology classes won't change all that much -- but the advertising will!) The main conversations with our staff should include more words like curriculum, engagement, collaboration, creativity, assessment, instructional design, professional learning, and problem solving and fewer words like CPS, SMART boards, Bluetooth, Web 2.0, MS Office and other techie talk. Not that those words are eliminated - certainly not - but they play supporting roles; not the lead. We need to talk with teachers first about their instructional goals-- and then we can have a much more impactful conversation about the tools that can support what teachers and students need.