Ya, I admit it, it’s fun …

IMG_1105These days, rarely a day goes by that I do not read an awesome post defending learning over technology. I just read Aviva’s fantastic post about putting expectations before toys, loved Zoe and Rodd‘s posts on a totally awesome analogue manner of teaching digital blogging, and was blown away by my buddy Danika’s gorgeously consice podcast episode on putting pedagogy ahead of the tool. I too mentioned this not long ago on this blog, but I feel compelled to add my two extra cents again.

It’s funny because I recall a time not long ago when the discourse of our PLN was far more entrenched in tool adulation. “Here’s another great, new, free web 2.0 tool …” “Check out this cool website …” “Here are some Delicious bookmarks for awesome IWB resources …” When I prowl through my Twitter feed these days I feel more likely to come across “5 Reasons SMARTBoards Suck …” “The iPad Pokes Out Pedagogy …” or  “Why 1:1 is NOT the Answer …” in fact, it might even be a retweet of my own post. Perhaps this is a natural evolution, and even serves as a great analogy for your typical tech integrator’s continuum with digital tools. As my good friend @slouca11 says, it’s only when you get past the novelty that true learning begins.

To get past the novelty, however, you have to experience the novelty. We shouldn’t forget that integrating technology meaningfully often is preceded by a blissfully childish stage which resembles my daughter’s love of the ice cream shop, not because it’s the most important part, but because it is an unavoidable, perhaps even essential one. It’s a little disingenuous of us to suggest otherwise.

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8 thoughts on “Ya, I admit it, it’s fun …

  1. I don’t see anything wrong with loving the tool, but I would argue that it’s best to love the tool past the novelty stage. Case in point: I love to write blog posts. I recognize the limitations of this type of writing, but I still love the act of writing, the feedback in comments and the notion that I can spread my voice globally (albeit to a very limited audience who can handle meandering musings and run-on sentences). I love film. I know it has huge limitations and no, it’s not as great a story-teller as a book, but yet . . . I love film. I love being in a theater and experiencing a movie for the first time. I love the creative ways people choose to use films.

    So, when someone loves technology, I actually think it’s a good thing.

  2. Great post. I have a confession – my edublogs username is “smithheartstech” – so very nerdy…

    Thanks for sharing your perspective. I, too, love the “blissfully childish stage”.

    Shannon

  3. If loving my iPad is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Seriously though, you hit the nail on the head. My favourite line from your post is “To get past the novelty, however, you have to experience the novelty.” Bring on the novelty. And the ice cream.

  4. A fantastic post, Royan! I agree. I do love the tools (I still get excited by something like the iPad and what I can do with it), and having the chance to play with these tools is important. It’s almost like it’s part of the learning. But, for me, I think it’s now about keeping in mind that the “tool” itself can’t be all we focus on. When the students use the tool enough, the tool itself almost becomes “invisible,” and we see some awesome learning happening in this stage too. I think @gcouros wrote a great post on just this!

    Thanks Royan for always making me think!
    Aviva

  5. This post is great! I think I love the tools too. I think that technology is great and all the things that makes it fun. However, we need to get past the the fun part and actually use technology to learn. If we just focus on the coolness of something, we often lose focus on the things we can actually learn from a certain tool. I think technology is often used only to entertain us when it should actually be used to learn and teach others.

  6. Excellent post Royan, you’ve totally summed up my own thoughts – add mind reader to your resume!

    When you wrote, “We shouldn’t forget that integrating technology meaningfully often is preceded by a blissfully childish stage…”, you totally captured what I have been trying to explain to colleagues about using technology with students. It’s okay to let them loose and explore using their intuition and interests. It’s amazing what the kids discover and how many times they push the envelop. Often they also improve the teacher’s understanding of the technology. This is such a valuable experience for the students and the teacher. It is with this opportunity that the students can find value in the technology for their own learning and the teacher can understand more clearly how the tool and the pedagogy can support each other.

    We need to apply a bit more of this strategy when trying to PD and support teachers in their own understanding and adoption of technology.

  7. Pingback: Old School Tools « De Luie Leraar

  8. Love your comment Wendy,
    “…students can find value in the technology for their own learning…”
    As teachers debate tools vs. application, students who know better are still waiting! I have an idea where the tech is going, but students will inform my ideas and expand on them.

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