What Tech Can't Do in School

What Tech Can't Do in School

Aug 22, 2012

MOTIVATION OPTIONAL: A failed blogging experiment in his classroom sent Mr. Bill Ferriter a message loud and clear. “You can’t motivate students with technology because technology alone isn’t motivating,” he writes in this SmartBlog on Education post. The revelation isn’t a new one--it’s one of many excuses that tech-resistant teachers use and “digital cheerleaders” avoid. Instead, Mr. Ferriter argues, students are motivated by a chance to question the world around them. The role of technology is only to “give students opportunities to efficiently and effectively participate in motivating activities built around the individuals and ideas that matter to them.”

We tend to agree. Just look at the pencil (or its predecessor, the stylus) and the printing press. The success of those technologies was driven by the motivation to record relevant information and share great ideas--the same impetus that drives many successful edtech tools today. By all means, we should remain excited about technology and explore the fascinating ways it affects pedagogy, but as Mr. Ferriter points out, any desire to motivate students “should start with conversations about our kids.”

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