On ABC’s Future Tense, Greg Whitby’s insistence that to focus on technology is a “waste of time” brings to mind the comparison of the computer as it’s used as ‘a $1000 dollar pen.’ Loads of money spent on devices that teachers and students don’t know how to effectively/purposefully utilise. Antony Funnell, who is also interviewed on the program, highlighted the importance of teacher training before the adoption of technology. Without this focus on teachers’ skill development before widespread use, programs revolving around technology can experience hardship.
Whitby goes on to state that “if you focus on the technology, you ignore the central problem and the central issue.” But what is the central problem and issue? Roblyer and Doering (2014, p.30) list the following as the top ten issues shaping today’s technology usage in education:
- Accountability and the standards movement
- Funding for education technology
- The Digital Divide
- Fears about Technology misuses
- Role of distance education
- Privacy and Safety
- Malware, Viruses, spam and hacking
- Online plagiarism
- Racial and gender equity
- 21st century technology skills
Rather than these, I believe Whitby is focused on stressing the importance of having a sound pedagogical base as well as purpose before technology enters the equation. This is something I also agree with. Puentedura’s SMAR model helps teachers think critically about how technology is integrated into their classrooms. For those unfamiliar, this video will give you a bit more detail.
In the ABC interview, Funnell again stresses the importance of teachers when he says “technology doesn’t educate people, people educate people”. Without teachers carefully considering how technology is used within the classroom, the results of its application will be limited.
Davies, A. (Producer). (2012, 19 August). 21st Century Education [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/2012-08-19/4197238
Roblyer, M.D., & Doering, A.H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Pearson new international edition). Essex: Pearson