As society advances it seems like there is always some sort of newer and better technology coming out every year. As educators we have the responsibility to capitalize on these ever changing technologies for use in the classroom. Any ideas or examples on how this could be done or might already be in use?

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I like the way you've phrased this - "capitalize on" rather than the more common "integrate." Those of us who've worked in the technology sector over the last few decades long ago came to the understanding that it was impossible to "keep up" and that the best we could do was "stay informed." What started as an academic exercise in an obscure branch of mathematics blossomed into something nobody in 1963 could have predicted.

My opinion - and it's only an opinion - is that you're starting from a false premise. 

As educators, I believe that our responsibility is three-fold: (1) to help learners learn, (2) to do it to the best of our ability, and (3) to do no harm. It does not include responsibility for using any technology unless the use of that tools enhances our ability to help learners learn, we can use it effectively, and it does no harm.

I repeat that this is just my opinion (and freely admit that my opinion is at odds with current educational practice in the U.S.).

One of the problems that I saw over and over again when teaching graduate level education courses was that what my students (almost all teachers) wanted was to learn how to use the technologies to teach with. Some became quite frustrated with my attempts to teach them how to use the technologies to learn with. 

Here's the reality of the issue from my perspective. 

Teachers already use a wide variety of technologies in their classroom practice - spoken and written language, display technologies, print technologies, and even "invisible" technologies like light, heat, architecture, and interior design. We use these almost without thinking about them. We realize their value in our practice because we've used them all to learn ourselves. We have internalized the use of these tools for learning so we understand how we might use them for teaching.  When we see a new or unique application of one of these tools, we recognize it at a deeply personal level. 

Where we get into trouble is trying to add a technology that we never used to learn with. 

So teachers who don't use search engines on the web, or read and write blogs, or join communities of interest in social spaces while in search of their own knowledge become hamstrung when they try to use these tools in their teaching. They lack the internalization of these tools in their own learning practice.

My advice is continue to use new tools to enhance your own learning. As you become more proficient with their use, consider how they might be incorporated into your teaching. 

Here's one plan:

1. Get a feed reader (Feedly seems to be the heir apparent to Google Reader). Subscribe to a few interesting people who are doing cutting edge stuff (Vicki Davis, Sherryl Nussbaum-Beech, or Clarence Fisher), and a few who are looking at policy (like Tom Hoffman at and at least one aggregator (Stephen Downes at in order to get early warning about things moving out in the edges of the educational space. Read the posts, follow the threads, and add new voices as you discover them. A feed reader should be considered "required reading" for any learner. And if you're not learning - you're not a teacher.

2. Use tools deliberately. Pick some new tool periodically. Use it to learn something. Hardware is difficult because it usually requires an expense, but software tools get developed much more quickly and are generally free. Google+, Diigo, Pinterest, and Twitter are excellent places to start. You're already in a Ning. Branch out into other spaces. How can you use them to learn more about topics of interest other than use of technology in teaching. Once you can learn with them, it will be much easier to teach with them. 

3. Plan to fail periodically. You know that every new skill comes with faltering steps. Even the best scaffolding is not perfect and learners will fall off. Many times you learn more from "failures" than successes. If you're not failing, you're not trying. This is how you know you're working at the outermost edges of your zone of proximal development. 

The process is not a short one. If you do it correctly, it will only end many years from now and I'm sure there'll be a lovely service where family and friends, students and colleagues will gather to mourn.

All this is just my opinion. It's how I've approached the problem for the last half century and I expect that I'll continue - even though I don't teach at a university any more. But this is the internet and - as always - your mileage may vary.

Good luck.




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