The wrong discussion

I saw it again.

I can best sum it up as having the wrong discussion. In terms of the experts, as Tim McGraw asks “Who are they?”

The first time that I heard this discussion was in the phrase “We got rid of SMARTBoards because of SAMR.  We replaced them with flat screen televisions”.

The most recent discussion was about how Chromebooks, by design, didn’t allow for teaching “above the line” with the SAMR model.  “We need MacBook Pros or full Windows computers.”

It’s just so hard to even begin to lend credibility to these discussions.

When I peel back the layers of the onion, the discussion really is:

  • “replacing data projector bulbs is a pain”
  • “I can only create movies with iMovie or Movie Maker”

I now have new material to use when I hear people espousing this model as the definitive answer for planning.  I’ve mentioned it many times; the problem with the way that people use the model is that it’s based solely on the actual technology and not addressing the real issue; proper understanding of student learning.

I prefer my thoughts about technology:

  • you can use it to do things differently
  • you can use it to do different things

With everything in the classroom, the use of the technology needs to revolve around student needs and not based upon a piece of technology or a piece of software.  A level for one isn’t necessarily a level for all.  Technology in the hands of a skilled teacher and motivated students is capable of amazing things.

There definitely are times and places for killer high end machines in order to address curricular needs.  But, those times and places aren’t everywhere.

What’s next?  We can’t teach electronics and coding with Spheros or Micro:bits because they’re not Arc Welding Robots?

School districts need to step back and focus on professional learning activities and growth/learning/networking opportunities.  Just throwing hardware or software at an unprepared classroom doesn’t cut it.

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