It Is Not About The Tool………Really!

Dan Meyer recently gave a keynote at CUE 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRsE6mKkDjw) and discussed how it was not about the tool but was about the mission in the classsroom, and I could not agree more.  A teacher recently asked me for a good tool to use and I had to pause, for a long time.  I know about a lot of tools, and I mean a lot, too many to name or list.

The problem is that we can never go into the classroom focused solely on using a tool, we have to be focused on what we want our students to know and learn.  We need to have a learning goal in mind, the tool should help us reach that goal.  The technology and the tools are there to assist us in our learning goals but they should not be the focus and take away from the learning we want to happen.

Lets say you wanted to be able to share resources with students easily so they can use them in their learning or have them available for them to extend their learning, well there are a lot of tools that allow you to do that (Evernote, Scoop.it, Symbaloo, Google Doc) but what matters is what you want them to do with those resources and how you work in your classroom.  Everything we do should be tied directly to a learning goal or objective.

So the key to using technology in the classroom, as I have said before, is to focus on the learning and then find a tool that helps you.  If that tool does not make things more effective or efficient, then switch to a different tool.  Be flexible when the tool disappears, which happens a lot online, and always be willing to try out a new one that may be a better fit for your classroom.  Do not be afraid to play around or to not be an expert with the tool before using it, allow your students to help you along the way or use the resources available to you, like a technology integrationist, to improve.

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