From a recent twitter conversation in which I played DA (devil’s advocate), I came up with an experiment to which any educator with any sense knows the outcome. The discussion originated from a series of posts by many that I follow on the benefits of 1:1 computing. I took a hardline stance that 1:1 computing does not make a difference in education, it is teachers that make a difference.
The argument I was making was that our valuable tax dollars are better spent creating better teachers rather than on machines to entertain kids. Of course, I agree with most all of the arguments for 1:1 initiatives. However, the dialogue surrounding tech integration too often shifts toward placing too much emphasis on the technology and not enough on what teachers do to engage students.
Anytime you find yourself or one of your colleagues slipping into “all we need is the right technology and everything will be ok” mode, try this thought experiment. Imagine two schools. In school A, randomly select 30 teachers from the population and provide them with unlimited technological resources. In school B, find the best 30 teachers from around the world and only allow them to use “traditional” technologies (chalkboard, pencil, paper, etc). What school would you place your children in?