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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I remember early on in my introduction to learning technologies (Blackboard.....) a suggestion to get us going; "why not start by uploading your assignment briefs and handouts". I still find the 'digital filing cabinet' suggestion comes up. Anything 'learning tech' that ends 'download and print' turns me off.
Call me clueless but I hadn't heard yet that there was something wrong with teaching kids how to use Microsoft Office software. Perhaps I need some clarification. Is the problem using productivity software like Word in general or just Microsoft's version? Is the claim being made that using Microsoft Office software is bad because nobody in business uses it anymore? nobody in government? nobody at home? nobody in education? Is the problem in the word "kids?" We shouldn't teach kids but it's ok to teach adults? Has everyone moved to google docs or other online collaboration software? I don't mean to drag the conversation off of the idea of the seven sins but I'd like to know more about this statement.
In reply to Nancy's point about the lack of facilities in a community to even think about online learning and discussion groups, I empathise. I have recently moved from a school which was technology rich in its culture (something which I took for granted and only saw what was missing!) to a school where many students hate computers and would not have access to the internet at home. I would have thought that the whole idea of using Web 2.0 tools is to open the walls of the classroom and make connections between home and school as well as connections with the rest of the world. This is difficult in a situation where neither the hardware or the culture is present, but I still think that it's wprth trying. I guess it is the same issue we have always had with "literacy" in the widest sense of the word. Haven't there always been households which didn't read or buy books? It seems to me that the role of education is as always: to introduce, to facilitate, to enable and to mentor. And to constantly review!!!! I agree with you that the students have to stay at the centre but I also think that it's OK for teachers to get a bit excited about the new things they are learning, otherwise they are at risk of being boring teachers! As long as the excitement translates into a real relationship rather than just a "wank", so to speak! I think that's the sub-text of your message, but correct me if I am wrong...
For me, a big technophile and a person who develops educational presentations and games for use in the classroom, it would be that TECHNOLOGY MEANS NO PREPARATION. It falls into that even larger category of our society thinking that EASE is what all methodolgy is about, all end products.

For instance, I was in a classroom just a few days ago. The person didn't know it was I who had made the powerpoint he was using. I thought it very appropriate for the topic/learning goals BUT he didn't prepare at all and just used the powerpoint game as a way to have sparkle and not as a well thought out part of the lesson.......ugh.....

So that's my beef.

One sin should be the mentality that "this will pass." Too often I see teachers using their 1.0 methods because they still think that the 21st Century is not here yet. The best example I can think of is the four or five workstations fully networked and loaded in the back of the classroom, and other than being a virtual dust collector, their only real use is for computerized "skill and drill" or reading programs (i.e. Accelerated Reader.) And these teachers PROUDLY preach this to their parents at open-house and other paretnt meetings. "Your child wil use a computer everyday in my class."

Another sin: Administrative leaders who don't get it! Our faculty wanted to use computers more and requested that a second computer lab be developed. They proposed every class donating one classroom workstation (most had four or five), and then making this lab flexibly scheduled. (Our first lab was used primarily for whole class "skill and drill" type exercises, and every class had their weekly computer time.) The second lab would allow teachers to loosely schedule "point-of-need" collaboratively planned research, writing, and project-based learning. Our school was very crowded and we struggled for rooms. The administration at the district level approved funding for furniture and wiring to create this lab, but our principal in all her wisdom requested that the lab be set up in one of our incoming mobile unit classrooms instead of in the building. The district nixed on paying for the lab set up since it was not going to be in a more "secure" location (like INSIDE the physical bricked building.) I am still shocked that she thought that would fly. So to make a long story short, we did not get the second lab. Our principal just did not understand why the district would want a new classroom to be housed in the mobile unit instead of a lab...
Laura said,

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.

This is bang on. Please put it at the top of any list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Laura for saying that. I won't drone on, on why it is such a big truth. Should be self evident.

I agree with the thoughts on using technology for technology's sake. I feel too often we think just because something is turned into a podcast we call it a 21st century project or that there is great higher order learning/thinking going on. It's the instruction and goal behind using the tool that makes technology amazing - not just the name.

That's why I'm somewhat getting tired of hearing about 21st century this and that. It's turned into a marketing slogan more than meaning a new way of learning and thinking to exist in a world that is changing (I'm trying not to use the word flat).

I think what the USDOE's report revealed was throwing technology at an instructional and curricular problem isn't effective. Podcasts, whiteboards, wikis, and blogs are no exception - I think it's about using all of these things as tools for creating and presenting knowledge in ways the traditional methods don't afford. In many cases, though, it's the same instruction just with a flashier "textbook".

Long story short, I left education to work in corporate IT consulting for a number of years. I would still from time to time look at conference and PD opportunities for teachers. I was amazed at the number of workshops still dedicated to MS Office applications. Back in education and teaching K-8 and working with teachers, I've changed my thinking. There's quite a bit that can be done to teach content (math, LAL, etc) and "technology" at the same time. In this process, students learn how to select tools that can help them solve problems. While I don't think we should exclusively focus on these applications, they do hold I think value in learning for students.

Great discussion!

I may be a bit biased here, but I firmly believe that teachers must involve their students when thinking about technology in the classroom. The students are the ones who are usually the early adopters of these technologies, and are able to come up relevant and useful applications to their own learning.

Deadly Sin: Not involving students in the process of bringing tech to class!

There's also an interesting thread here, possibly, relating to student involvement in general as it relates to technology--as in keeping the computers maintained, etc. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who is doing this.
I once asked a teacher, who couldn't understand why her first generation iMac with 64 Megs of memory, OS 8.5 and 4 gig hard drive it couldn't load the latest websites with flash and quicktime etc.

I asked her if she ever took her car in for maintenance. Of course she said. Oil, tires...

So I asked why we expect computers to never need maintenance? We can always upgrade the system, upgrade the ram, clean the HD, delete unwanted files...

We actually got that old iMac working pretty good as a internet station...

So I agree, not taking care of equipment would be a sin...
How about student involvement in choosing curriculum, modality, speed, format? Heresy.
I would say that it is a sin to not be a "Self-Learning", "Self-Motivated Learner", or "Life Long Learner". How can a teacher expect their students to learn their content if they are not willing to learn new content themselves.

I would also add that outlawing technologies without researching how they could be used in the classroom is a sin. AKA: The "Cell Phone"



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