Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Technology is Not Stuff and Innovation is Not Money

I've recently spent some time working with a variety of educational groups and teams, discussing technology and its integration into classrooms, schools and K-12 districts.

Inevitably, I will ask folks how they use innovative technology in their respective spaces. (Technology: the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area - thanks m-w.com.)

And inevitably, I get the same answer (or some variation thereof): Well...(awkward thinking pause)...we are using (pick one or more) interactive white boards, projectors, videos (really?!), VHS to DVD burners, websites...and on and on. Stuff. Lots of stuff. Training for the said stuff? Little or none...or training is going to happen...at some point.

Extension question: Ok, so how are you using these items in innovative ways? (Innovation: the act of starting something for the first time; introducing something new - thanks wordnetweb.princeton.edu.) Well, we're starting to look at how we can allocate funds for training and we have a couple people who really know how to use it well - and it does come with software!

OK, much of this is tongue-in-cheek, and I really think it's a good thing that people are at least acknowledging the value in using some of the "stuff" that has become prevalent in the educational technology world. I'm really trying not to be elitist here - honestly and truly.

But at some point, we need to yell it out from the mountain tops:


The practical application of knowledge, while simultaneously starting something for the first time or introducing something new is inspiring...stuff and money is not...it's nice, but it's not inspiring.