I was asked recently to write an Ed Tech Philosophy Statement. Here is what I came up with:
I have had the pleasure of working alongside some really great teachers. In my observation, the best teachers are those who make a sincere effort to understand, respect, and honor their students’ individual abilities and learning styles. They find ways to make every lesson resonate with each student. They also make sure they are not just teaching disconnected facts. Instead, they attempt to help students understand context and underlying systems so they can bring isolated facts together into a cohesive, sensible whole. Finally, they make learning fun and engaging by planning innovative lessons and activities that stimulate students’ innate curiosity.
I have seen technology used poorly in schools and I have seen it used well. When it is used well it doesn’t replace the elements of great teaching I listed above. Technology, if used appropriately, can actually enhance a teacher’s ability to recognize, reach, and engage students. The key question when planning curriculum with technology integration should be: Does this enhance teaching and learning? If we are just checking the technology box rather than thinking hard about how to integrate technology in innovative, effective ways, it will not be a useful exercise.
Schools will continue to be transformed by the pace of technological innovation whether they plan for change or not. Figuring out how to stay ahead of this transformation rather than just keeping up, or even falling behind, is a major challenge. It is essential to stay focused, align on the use of technology that can enhance the core mission of the school, and find ways to give teachers tools that will augment their educational practice without distracting them or their students from the simple goal of learning.