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Education First, Technology Second

What I am about to say will come as no surprise and I make no apologies for repeating what may seem common sense to many of you.  But....

Technology is not a panacea for shortcomings in the classroom.  

education first
It is widely known that what comes first in #edtech is 'ed' and not 'tech'.  Nonetheless, it still seems necessary to say that technology will not sort out your classroom control issues and nor will it, without some thorough thought and preparation linked to pedagogy or evidence based educational practices, make the learning any better.  

I have previously expounded the virtue of technology use in the classroom, in particular, if it will allow teachers to modify or redefine what can normally be achieved.  I am, of course, alluding here to Ruben Puentedura's framework for the four categories of technology integration in classroom teaching.  Some time ago, I posted a blog on the topic here.  Having experienced more than a year where my students have devices and use them in the classroom I am perhaps less evangelical about following this model.  My goalposts have changed and given that my educational practice is bedded down in some very solid research into language teaching that calls for repetition of chunks of knowledge as a cornerstone of language learning, I am not so interested in redefining now.

what is my goal and how do I get to it?
Now, as I face a classroom of students all on their Surface Pro Devices, I am thinking even more about how I can get to my goal instead of how I can redefine a task.   All of this is not to say that I have suddenly become staunchly anti-tech.  Not in the least.  It does mean that, even more than ever, I am thinking about how I can provide opportunities for my students to practice, repeat and bed down in their long term memory, chunks of knowledge that they can draw on again and again and this is where technology can play a useful part.

I am fortunate that my classes are all set up in Class Notebook and that via this medium I am able to provide plenty of opportunities to achieve my goals.  However, I am not a slave to the technology, rather with focus on the science of teaching so that learning can be successful, the technology enables me to reach my objective. Thus redefinition, and indeed augmentation, is not my goal.  What I want is to produce students who can communicate in the target language, who can read and listen to a wide variety of foreign language books and films that form the basis for my passion for the language. 

In short, the goal is to educate. 


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