Getting excited about an idea, not a tool

Getting excited about an idea, not a tool

So, for a while in our district has been very excited about certain tools that they have invested in. At various times, they have been excited about SchoolCenter, iWork, Garageband, Powerpoint, Smart Notebook, and quite a few others.
While I have never been a real big fan of this type of technology integration, I can understand it. It exists so that most people have something to hang their hat on at the end of the day. It exists because it is so much easier to implement a tool than it is an idea. An idea (at least a good one) requires rethinking every tool and its usefulness; it requires questioning a strategy that is based on tools.
So, I have to say, when I put together the presentation earlier this week on asking the really big question of “what is the web for?” I didn’t think it would be taken seriously. I thought that it would be looked at only for the tools that are behind creating learning networks and role-specific portals. Well, at least so far, I have been proven wrong. All of my conversations this week have been without the specific tools that have bogged us down so many times before. I have actually heard other people say that tieing together all of the project-specific tools is a much better way than tying us to any one tool. I’m not sure how long this conversation is going to last, but you can bet that I will be riding it for all that it is worth.
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  1. True, true… but when the tool triggers ideas that’s a winner too though. i.e voicethread triggering spec ed. reading responses, conference tools extending walls outside a classroom (palbee, dimdim, twiddla), RSS feeds, blogs, motivating and inspiring teachers, TED talks, Youtube, Schooltube, etc inspiring kids to publish. Wikis, envoking global collaboration, PLN’s lifting spirits and sharing ideas.
    There are so many tools, we can’t forget that sometimes this is the carrot that sparks motivation..e.specially in a K-6 environment. 🙂

  2. Dave

    Great post. I feel like our tech people are often stretched thin enough that they have to choose between teaching the ideas and teaching the tools, and teaching the tools is what gets everyone through to tomorrow. :/ A good deal of the excitement about teaching students “21st century skills” is probably because a lot of us are so tired of working with people who don’t ever learn the underlying ideas.

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