Monthly Archives: May 2014

Time to retire the old mantras

“Education should drive the technology”
“You shouldn’t use technology just because it’s shiny and new”

Back in the old days we had the term Digital Natives. We now know this is no longer valid and it is generally an eschewed term. Back then though, it served a useful purpose. It gave us a common terminology in order to start discussing something that we had to discuss. It was, in its time, a really useful tool, a door opener, some common ground on which we could start our exploration of how technology and youth combined. Every new field must have its jargon, and this was the start of ours.

In the same way, the two terms I started out with were useful in their day. They are now just as much defunct and past their use by date as Digital Native. Although sadly I do hear them still bandied about by people who should know better.

Take the premise of the first statement. If we allow this to be true, following that tenet, we are sentencing (in the prisoner kind), funnelling, limiting, corralling, forcing, teachers to use technology only at level “S” on the SAMR scale. The best they could do is to “Substitute” their print based, chalk derived, activities for digital equivalents. Education and teaching practice is inhibiting the value and capacity of technology. Education driving technology use.

Take the premise of the second statement. Remove the blatantly emotive/denigrative “Shiny and New” and say it as, utilise the affordances that shiny and new offer, and shape education to that. It will present you with opportunities you didn’t have before, it opens up capabilities to do things differently and possibly better. New means exactly that, it wasn’t there before, it is an open door. This time we are sentencing (in the prisoner kind), funnelling, limiting, corralling, forcing, teachers to work at the “R” level. Redefining teaching and learning practices needs, requires, relies on, demands, shiny and new.

Utilising technology for technology’s sake, that is, making a use of shiny and new is a good thing, it is the way we are going to make change. It is something we should aspire to, not put down as a frivolous use of technology just because you can.

You know what, DO use it just because you can, DO use it just because it’s shiny and new, because if you have the skill to do it, you are the hope we have for breaking the stalemate of old world holding back new worlds that we haven’t begun to get enough value out of yet.

Just like Digital Native has had its day, so have these old statements. let’s consign both to the page in the history book that houses Digital Native, thank them for the excellent service they gave during their time, and come more up to date and start being an accelerator, not the brake.