My Definition of Good Pedagogy Includes Technology

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Last night during the Learning 2030 rebroadcast, one of the tweets that came across my screen was a statement that said, “Technology does not replace good pedagogy”.

I see this quote quite frequently in my work, and I worry about it a bit.

I worry because in the same way that “good” standardized test scores can be used to keep technology out of classrooms, I think that this quote can be used by educators to justify avoiding change.

Let me explain…

It might surprise people to realize that there are classrooms, and in fact entire schools, where technology is not being used in learning.


Night Owl City via Compfight cc

How to help those teachers, schools and school boards embrace technology-enhanced learning is the topic of much discussion and much interest.

I have said many times, that I don’t believe in 2014, that our kids can possibly go to school and not have access to technology.  I won’t go into the arguments why right here – that is another blog post – but technology needs to be there.

When a teacher who is not using technology in his or her class sees this quote, they can use it to justify what they are doing.

“Oh yes, I am a great teacher, so I don’t need technology in my classroom.”

It’s the same as seeing entire schools misuse standardized  test scores to justify avoiding change.  “We have great test scores so we are doing everything right, we don’t need to change.”

Quotes like this are dangerous.

I would ask the question, “In 2014, can good pedagogy exist without technology?”

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I would also ask the question, “Does technology replace poor pedagogy?”

I think we need to be very careful about our choice of words.

When we look at the SAMR model, we see that technology-enhanced learning can be so much more enriching.

If we are not allowing our learners to connect and build learning networks, what exactly is our excuse?

5 thoughts on “My Definition of Good Pedagogy Includes Technology

  1. “In 2014, can good pedagogy exist without technology?” In short – no. I use technology, to some degree, daily and feel that my students are better for it because they can access way more as avid Google users than avid textbook users can. However, “does technology replace poor peagogy?”, now that is a whole other kettle of fish. I think poor pedagogy begets poor use of technology.

    Those who have a firm grasp of the big ideas, how to differentiate for the students in front of them, and their learning needs aren’t going to just use a tool because it’s new and flashy, or so I hope. They’re going to use it if it is applicable to the learning styles and needs of their students.

    As an embracer of technology, not as a fancy, shiny new thing, but as a tool for learning when applicable, I feel that technology has a huge role in the 21st-Century classroom. Having said that, there are a lot of tools, programs, and “games” aimed at teachers currently that actually offer very little educational value, regardless of how well others speak of them or what researcher was hired to gather evidence in their favour. You probably have seen them….those math games where kids just keep clicking until they get the answer right, so really they aren’t thinking so much as clicking as fast as they can to get through to the praise (prize).

    I have watched students using programs, looked at the expectations being addressed, talked to the kids while they engaged with the screen and discovered that while they may be learning something – it’s not the learning we think it is. A great is example is the “Power4Bones” program. It’s flashy, Grade 5 students can make comics (literacy), it has an oral literacy component – it’s fun! BUT, should it be your health program for a term? Absolutely not. If anything, it’s a great example of something created by an NGO to promote a one-way message – much like a PSA or an advertisement.

    There’s some great stuff out there, the OAME math resources in CLIPS and e-Practice, Reflex Math, as well as any web-manip from NCTM are great! But this is a cautionary tale to colleagues – just because they are engaged, it doesn’t mean they are learning. There’s also some stuff, even in the OERB, that doesn’t really have the educational power that a hands-on, person-to-person exploartion can have.

    I guess my diatribe is really about professional discretion (and maybe this is what scares those who choose not to engage with tech in their classrooms – the uncertainty factor). Use the tool yourself, know what your learning goal is, and please (I emplore you!), don’t use technology because it’s a fad and you feel you have to. Use it when it is meaningful and will carry your students closer to achieving success with your established learning goals.

    1. Not all uses of technology lead to learning. I agree with that statement.

      Teachers need a wide variety of tools and strategies to best meet the needs of individual learners. Teaching and learning are complex. Opportunities to network, learn from experts, explore areas of interest, become competent and responsible in using the tools and learning to choose the most appropriate tool are all important components of what students need to take advantage of the learning environment.

      Fluency in the use of technology is basic expectation in 2014. I don’t believe we have the right to deny our students that kind of learning.

  2. Technology doesn’t replace good pedagogy; it’s an essential *component* of good pedagogy. The challenge is to find its place in different circumstances. For this we need to experiment and share. Thanks for a great post Donna!

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