Beware of the Eduzombies

This semester some colleagues and I are putting together a series of presentations called TechnoTuesdays. I blogged about this previously and I am pleased to say that project has grown to include others on this campus who work in Ed tech, not just moi.

I love looking at tools from the perspective of a teacher. I like seeing how they work and then stepping back and thinking how (if at all) they could be used in the classroom, all the while asking myself the question “What is the problem you are hoping to solve with this tool?”

Sometimes though, it can be realllly easy to be seduced by the tools. They are so slick and cool and well if everyone of Twitter is using it then it HAS to be good…right? right????!?! Well no.

My good friend Pete Smith from UT-Arlington recently wrote a blog post that included this clip. It made me giggle for lots of reasons. It exemplifies how I sometime feel when someone tries to woo me with this app or that add-on and tell me how it is gonna change my world, or manage my students’ learning better, or make students magically become better at X or Y. No app, no technology can do that. Learning requires work. When an app supports and nurtures that work and can help a student move towards a specific learning outcome, then yes, that is good technology. But I am human, and I can be seduced by slick stuff too so I constantly have to keep myself in check.

Really good educational technology requires input from students and teachers in order to be effective, it also makes you see things diffferently and learning something new…not because of the tool, but because of the opportunity the tools afforded you in your learning.

Anything less than that encourages bland, passivity and will turn us into the educational equivalent of flesh eating zombies. And watch out, they are coming to get you too… 🙂

With a nod to the Bava:

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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  1. Language Lab Designer · September 18, 2010 Reply

    Hi Barbara,

    I completely agree – it all comes down to whether any given tool really is useful in the classroom. But how do the makers of these tools know whether they are genuinely useful or not until really put to the test? I think many companies lose sight of this, stick their heads in the sand and go for the heavy sell.

    We don’t want to be like that. But we need the help of technologically enlighted teachers such as yourself. Would you be willing to look at our latest creations and give us some feedback?

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