Okay, I am writi8ng another article. This time about the "Seven Deadly Sins" of Educational Technology.

What do you consider a "sin" when it comes to education technology?

Perhaps not using equipment?
Not enough training?

Your answers will help me in my article.

Thanks everyone!


Tags: 2.0, ed, education, sin, tech, technology, web

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With grown children and a clean house, I have lots of time to read blogs, articles, etc. online in the summer. What irritates me is the "bandwagon" mentality with which people have latched onto Web 2.0. I've written a lot about this as various blog replies---probably should just say it all on my own blog. People want to know "which social bookmarking site to use", or which "fancy tool is your favorite" or "how can I use ning with kids?" So many times the author doesn't mention a real, relevant and rich curriculum; doesn't mention any learning outcomes, and sometimes they don't even mention students!! The tool is not the thing.

In my large district Web 1.0 is hardly entrenched, teachers worried about high stakes testing, AYP, NCLB, kids who don't speak English, kids who don't pay attention and families in crisis are not going to spend hours setting up social book marking sites, ning discussion groups, etc.

I hate to write and am not very articulate in writing but do you see my point? Good luck with your article.
Nancy, So you would say a sin would be:
Moving forward with new technologies when the older ones have not even been adopted?

Thanks for the great answer.
Or Jumping on every technology bandwagon without thought to academic content or outcome.

I remember years ago hearing a presentation by Carol Ann Tomlinson (Univ ofVa) on differentiating for all learners in the classroom and she said "You can't differentiate FOG". I think the same holds true for technology tools---you can insert images, add audio, podcast it, post it to the web but if there is no content it is still FOG.

I maintain at 5+ websites, I write two blogs, my students have a blog and did 4 wikis last year. We've done a half dozen major projects using technology so it's not that I don't use technology. I just struggle with blogs where students only post and comment to each other (when they can say what they have to say f2f), with websites that are reguritation of info already on the web, or make identical powerpoints with no point!

I'm not always successful in meeting my goals but I feel like at least I try. You can see a list of all our projects, websites, blogs and wikis here. Did I seem too whiney? N. http://anotsodifferentplace.blogspot.com/2007/07/where-is-all-your-...
Not digitizing everything! Print is inaccessible to many of our students. So not using the capabilities of educational technology to benefit all learners is a major "sin" in my book.

When material is in a digital or electronic format, it is now accessible to all students in our classrooms; students who are visual impaired can attach a voice to it, students with print disabilities can hear it, manipulate the text so it is easier to read, students with physical disabilities can use alternate access methods to access the curriculum which is not possible with textbooks, students with cognitive disabilities can have information "cognitively rescaled" using the autosummarize feature built into world..... these are just a few examples. Another example is for our students with attentional issues or auditory processing difficulties - record your instruction and upload to the internet for review at home.
schools cherry pick research to find what supports what they are already doing, then only do the easy parts of whatever methodology they choose.

not giving a new model enough time and attention to work. we suffer from the tyranny of the new. It's not just flitting from one technology to the next, it's about models, pedagogy, and everything.

"not enough training" is a myth, if you ask me...
Sylvia, you've said it: "It's not just flitting from one technology to the next, it's about models, pedagogy, and everything." And Linda, your comment: "...having the technology does not mean that it is being used well any more than giving someone a box of paints creates a masterpiece, " Yes, that's so true.
Nancy, you said, "I just struggle with blogs where students only post and comment to each other (when they can say what they have to say f2f), with websites that are regurgitation of info already on the web, or make identical powerpoints with no point..."

Maybe one of the main sins for Tim to put on his list is meaninglessness. Random, scattered, meaninglessness. Empty use of technology, just like empty curriculum of any kind, only leads to disengagement, more removal, more compartmentalizing, less reflective and deep thinking.

The question then becomes how do we arrive at the core meanings, the pedagogy, the "everything else" and most important overriding goals? How do we get rid of the meaninglessness? The benefit of a negative list, of what not to do, is that we can figure out what we should be doing.

Maybe we should start (Tim--how about you?) a parallel list, of what should be done? (What's the opposite of "seven deadly sins"? "Virtues" has all the wrong connotations--anyone have a list title?) It's like Nancy says, what we need is a "rich, relevant curriculum." A central view of what's important. How about "purpose"? What are the elements of purpose in what we're doing?

(By the way, a few alarm bells are going off in my intuitive self: this phrase pops into mind: "A cynic is an idealist who has been hurt." Let's put double the energy into supporting each other through this "discovery of meaning in the new tools" phase. I know I need and value guidance, and turn eagerly to my colleagues on this network to shed light, ask questions, and formulate meaningful goals...)
To me the biggest sin is using technology just so you can say "We use technology at our school" without thinking about what the value is to this use. For example, when Smart Boards are used only as a techny new way for a teacher to read e-mails or as merely a glorified overhead projector, that is a sin. I would agree with Nancy that just jumping on technology's newest bandwagon is neither productive nor useful. Just having the technology does not mean that it is being used well any more than giving someone a box of paints creates a masterpiece.

I also get tense when people think that because something can be done--digitize a book, make a movie, whatever--that it has to be done and only done that way. There are still some old fashioned ways of teaching, writing, producing that are perfectly valid and often better than the newest things to come down the pike.
Here's a little aside---as a young mother I liked digging in the backpack for the "bound books" and the drawings on manila paper and the stories torn out of a spiral notebook. Will moms of the future have scrapbooks filled with CDs and DVDs to pass on to their adult children? Kinda sad.
Nancy: I've wondered the same thing. But by the time young kids are using technology that way, let's hope digital portfolios make the memory-making aspects even better. I think about how I can't find a photo of my great-grandfather, not a single one; and yet, our family has posted over 9000 photos to Flickr in just a few years. My children will likely have many electronic artifacts from their childhood that have the added advantage of being instantly duplicable--what fun not to have to divide up the family pictures, but just burn DVDs for everyone.
OK, agree but hopefully teachers will not throw the baby out with the bathwater--we need the best of pre-technology hard stuff and modern digital. Five days til school starts. N.

PS My sis just had 500 slides of our parents early years (1050s-1960s) put on DVD and we'll all be glad to have them.
Although I am an Instructional Technology Specialist and love working with kids, teachers, and computers...the biggest sin we make is listening only to technophiles, and dismissing the critics when adopting technology. There are always unintended consequences whenever a culture introduces a new technology. Not having an informed discussion prior to jumping on the band wagon, is a "sin." In the case of computers, the band wagon was a freight train.
Ha! What a great title!

I would nominate this one: making students do tasks on the computer and/or use technology that YOU, the teacher, do not do yourself and/or do not enjoy doing yourself. That is a sin.

There's also a nice post up that I just read a few minutes ago citing a comment by Negroponte that I agree with absolutely - teaching kids how to use Microsoft Office software is criminal. Here's that post ...
OH WAIT - ha ha ha - that is YOUR post with the great Negroponte quote. So I won't quote it back at you! I was about to reply to that one also - but I will just thank you here for sharing that with us. I enjoyed it very much.

Happy thoughts! :-)



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