After earning this badge, you will be better able to think critically about popular claims regarding education benefits from using technology.
Technologies are extensions of human ability. More specifically, electronic tools help us quickly and accurately communicate across long distances, manipulate numbers and other data, store and retrieve large quantities of information, and compose and revise writing or media.
Q. Will using [fill in any technology] improve learning?
A. Not automatically — certainly not without good pedagogy.
That's the right answer, but it's not always the one we get from people who are trying to sell us technology for teaching and learning - as in the example below.
(image from the website of a popular LMS, April 2014)
Some media outlets seem to feel they must treat each new technology development as a potential solution to ALL of our challenges. A well-known Microsoft researcher had this to say about technology as a cure-all:
We've seen a golden age of digital technology and innovation ... but during that same span of time, the rate of poverty has actually only increased. Inequality has skyrocketed, and social mobility has stagnated. So that suggests that without something else also being tended to, technology by itself simply does not address these problems.
Determinism is the philosophical concept that says everything that happens was bound to happen; all events are predestined and we have no choice.
For our purposes, technological determinism is the belief that a tool inherently has either a positive or negative effect on learning.
A technology is neither noble nor wise. Humans can use it to deliver foolish, misleading, or offensive results. An "educational" technology will be more effective when paired with a strategy that promotes learning. It is up to us to teach WELL using technology.
LISTEN to part of an interview with Kentaro Toyama from August 2015