I find myself repeating that phrase a lot- “Technology is a tool.” It doesn’t enhance learning on its own.
In a session earlier this week, I compared blogs to hammers. You wouldn’t go to the hardware store, purchase a hammer, and make a decision to build something simply because you have a hammer. What if you decide to build something that requires a screwdriver instead of a hammer? You purchased the tool before deciding what to build, and now you have the wrong tool.
Likewise, you don’t start off blogging because you simply want to have a blog (or wiki, or SMARTBoard, or [insert technology tool here]). If you’re looking for an outlet for personal reflection, sharing your thoughts and questions with others in a similar field for example, then a blog is a great tool for that purpose. Blogs are not the answer to every learning situation, though.
Sometimes, I wonder if we are thinking about the tools before we think about the purpose. In education, it would be great to have every tool at our disposal so that learning could be unrestricted. While that’s not exactly realistic, I think it’s definitely something we need to consider. When school districts consider how they can better support technology for students… are we setting our focus on the tools? Or… is the purpose already well-defined, so it’s a good time to go ‘shopping’ for the tools?
I don’t have those answers, but I would really like to hear what you think.