Posted by: crudbasher | June 3, 2011

Technology in the Classroom Is NOT the End Goal

I read this article about a school introducing iPads into their classrooms. While this is a distinct improvement from no iPad, I think a lot of people are missing the point.

Here’s the quote that got me thinking:

Westsyde principal Sean Lamoureux said the incoming iPads are a sign of the times. “I see the technology in the classroom as the wave of the future,” he said.

No, no, no, and no. Technology in the classroom is not the wave of the future anymore than a nice cell phone is the precursor to a good conversation. You have to look at where this all will inevitably lead.

The goal is not to put technology into the classroom, the goal is to enable learning everywhere, including outside of the classroom. We are conditioning our students that learning can only happen in a classroom!  100 years ago that was mostly true, because that is where the books were to learn from. Today we have just as much information at home as at school so why do we still go there? This is the rock that the ship of school will shatter on. It’s a confidence game and students are increasingly not buying it. It certainly doesn’t help that in some classrooms teachers tell them to turn off their devices!

Ok rant over. Let’s lay out an example of how this could be different.

I came something today that I thought had lots of possibilities for education. There is a new game called Shadow Cities for the iPhone. (H/T kotaku.com)

In this game, players move around their actual cities and towns. As they travel, they can pick up power and spells. They can also see other players on their map as they move around too! Combats ensue virtually via the game interface. It’s an augmented reality game but what if we developed an educational version? In order to get levels and spells you had to complete learning tasks based on your location. It would take a lot of creativity to make but students could always be playing. With a series of these games I think it could get students interested in learning at all times.

We have to break out of the classroom and focus on learning. Technology in the classroom is a good first step, but it’s a transient event that will help us transition into the future.

PS. The Shadow Cities game was launched in one country. Which one? Finland, the country with the best education system in the world. Coincidence? Um, probably. heh

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Responses

  1. I wish we were at a stage in my district where we could say it’s time to move beyond the “technology is the future,” but in my district many of the classrooms still look like it’s 1950 and pencils, papers, and books are the cutting edge. I was discussing with my technology director for the district that for three years we have been giving the same beginning presentation to teachers introducing them to wikis and classroom homepages and because our test scores are so high and thus parents are satisfied that there is no motivation on the part of teachers to use these tools. It is still the future at least in my district for many teachers around me.

    • I totally understand Darrall. It must sometimes feel like the public school system is stuck in slow motion as we watch technology advance around us. Where I think this will change is more and more students will bring their own technology to school. That seems to me to be the answer. Even if only half students have tech, it could still change the way the class operates. Just be a little more patient and things will begin to transform!

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. I agree, would be great to see someone create an education version of that game, would be fantastic for school trips! Collect 2000XP as you pass under the Eiffel Tower!

    • Lol that is totally awesome Michelle! I would play that game! 🙂

  3. […] via Technology in the Classroom Is NOT the End Goal « Education Stormfront. […]

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Your “rant” is totally justified! 🙂 It’s not so much the tech which is used in classrooms, it’s the learning environment which is changing and which needs to be addressed. Learners today are different from 10, 15 years ago and need to be engaged in their learning process in a way which meets their generation’s expectations and identity.

    BTW, cool game 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Ana! It’s fascinating to watch how our students are evolving right before our eyes. I really believe that if school doesn’t evolve alongside them to meet their needs they will go elsewhere. Maybe not in body, but in mind. Awesome comment!

  5. Hi Andrew,

    Again, in complete agreement with you! Classrooms have changed – it is the learners who have changed and if teachers, administrators and educational institutions don’t follow the change, what education are we providing to this generation of learners? E-learning is not about “digital toys” as some still say; digital learning is a reality which is not about to go away. The sooner schools are able to meet learners’ needs and expectations about engagement and learning, the more prepared students will be for whatever lies ahead of them. (or so I hope! 🙂

  6. […] Houp of Ash Grove Schools pointed out this post from the excellent blog, Education Stormfront. Blogger crudbasher makes the point that simply […]

  7. […] Technology in the Classroom Is NOT the End Goal « Education Stormfront […]

  8. […] https://educationstormfront.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/technology-in-the-classroom-is-not-the-end-goal… […]


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