I have always been curious about technology in education. Despite what I would call a fairly useless technology class in my preservice education, I tried incorporating technology whenever I could in my teaching. One of my first uses of online technology was to have a class message board. I also remember early efforts to record readings onto iPods for students to listen as they read. Later on in my K-12 career I introduced my 8th graders to Twitter. This was 2008, so they hadn’t yet heard of it. It was interesting to see them start to use their accounts years later when the platform became more pervasive.
As time went on I became known as a “techy” teacher. In the time before 1:1 initiatives, the laptop cart resided in my room and the IT folks were always bringing me new gadgets to try. I was proud of my use of technology. Then, I heard someone say, “That’s Mr. Kruse, he’s a great teacher because he’s using technology all the time with kids.”
I’m honored that the person thought I was a good teacher, but that “because” really bothered me. We all know of ways to use technology in ways that are not effective. Instead, I’d like to think I use technology effectively because I am an effective teacher. This switch in order is significant. When we understand how to teach well, we can better integrate technology into our teaching. Adding technology doesn’t magically make a bad teacher better.