To tech or not to tech….

I have a couple of friends who play craps and love to always bet on black. Definitely something influenced by the great Wesley Snipes. I  prefer to diversify my portfolio.
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I love technology. My wife would say I love it too much in reality. I always want the latest and greatest gadgets. But I am also willing to realize its limits. I also see the dangers of forcing a thing where it doesn’t belong. I don’t want our students to be given the same service they’ve always gotten, but just from a robot instead of a person doing their best robot impression.

I’m mostly saying that unless we fundamentally change the look, feel, and message our students receive no amount of products from Apple or Google will change anything of any real consequence in education.

I do think there are some amazing things that can be done with web based products like desmos.com for math exploration and peardeck.com for presentations. Khan Academy definitely has its uses as well, but I want to make sure we don’t fall into this tunnel vision mindsent where technology will save our students.

One of the first problems I see is the financial side of things. Many of the kids we need to serve as a country can’t afford the technology. They might be able to swing it the first time, but to stay up with technology as it evolves often requires additional funding. We have to be mindful of where that comes from. Second is the implementation has to happen across the board. Meaning, teachers in all disciplines will need to buy in to tech integration or the devices will feel unnecessary if they aren’t used in meaningful ways.

Another danger I neglected to mention was tech fatigue. Not every teacher loves new technology. It means new lessons, or at least a new approach to an old lesson. While this sounds like a great ideal, new iniative fatigue is hard to combat, easy to fall into, and from which is incredibly difficult to climb out. When we initiate something new, there has to be time to try, assess, reflect and discuss be for considering something new. If there is a new tech initiative every 2 years, teachers will be tired, frustrated and most importantly they will lose faith in the process.

I certainly want to keep technology a piece of the puzzle, but only a piece. I’d love to incorporate computer science, 3D printing, design thinking and innovation as a mindset that accompanies the technology side of things.

I have used tablets and definitely prefer them, but also think a few laptop carts is needed to help supplement activities. I love Apple TV, I love Google docs and I think there are great ways to integrate technology. As with everything, it needs to have real purpose. Having technology can’t be a purpose.

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About Chett Garcia

I live in Philadelphia with my wife and son. I teach math, and dream of a great school that can be the model for all schools in the future. I am always trying to improve myself, my teaching, and life in general. I truly hope you'll join me on this journey!
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