Technology Is A Tool, NOT A Learning Outcome

All too frequently, we become enamored with the bells and whistles of technology without taking a step back to examine our goals for using it.  Bill Ferriter, of the Center for Teaching Quality, created the following image to demonstrate how learning to use technology can be conflated with learning what technology can enable us to do.  It provides an excellent reminder that as educators, although it is important that we teach students about how digital tools work, it is even more important that we enable and empower students to explore and use these tools to accomplish goals and tasks.

As an administrator, I have frequently sat around a table planning for an event or a training session and someone inevitably says, “We need to use technology.”  The idea and the sentiment isn’t a bad one, but the problem with this statement is that it frequently leads to technology being an “add-on.”  Instead, it is far better to set one’s goals and then figure out creative ways that technology can enhance them.  Technology provides us with new affordances, or new ways of doing and acting, that can lead to more enhanced outcomes.  The trick to using technology as an educator is to know when technology can add to, or when it detracts from, the learning experience and employing it strategically.

Technology is a tool, not a learning outcome…


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