Monday, February 16, 2009

52 Teachers, 52 Lessons #5: Put The Technology Down

After a one week hiatus, the 52 Teachers, 52 Lessons community project is back on track. This week's entry comes from Kate of f(t) (one of many great bloggers featured on my blogroll). She has a very interesting perspective on technology in the classroom. Enjoy!

Hey, New Teachers!

Put. The technology. Down.

No, really. Put it down.

It's not going to teach for you.

It's not going to make the kids get right triangle proportions in a whole new way they never got it before.

It's never going to take the place of a thoughtful, relevant lesson, lovingly developed by you.

Because the technology was made by people. People who never taught Geometry in your town. People who never met your kids.

And other people can not decide FOR you how YOU are going to teach something well.

If you can't already teach something well without technology, technology is just going to make things worse.

Technology is the guy who smokes and rides a motorcycle. It's exciting and sexy. And it's bad for you.


OK, if you insist, you can use it.

But it has to be THIS way: "I am planning this lesson, which is going to be awesome. It would be REALLY awesome if X." And the technology does X. Then you can use it.

And not THIS way: "This technology is so COOL! I have to use it SOMEHOW!"

No! Bad. Put it down.

(To clarify, I'm specifically using the word "technology" to mean the snake oil peddled as educational hard/software, of the variety "Have the kids log in and give them a copy of this worksheet!" (and, I dunno, go sit at your desk and drink coffee or something). I don't mean stop using your telephone and ban all calculators. If it is the kind that makes the awesome lesson you lovingly developed go smoother, easier, and less stressfully, ok. (I had to add this part because I wouldn't want my Smart Board to think I was talking bad about it. I love that thing. I'm serious. If it could pay my bills, I'd marry it.))

My name is Kate.
I teach high school students some mathematics in upstate NY.
I have a blog at

Read more about this project here or add the 52 teachers 52 lessons tag to your favorites. Email your entries to teachforeverATgmailDOTcom. Week 6 will be posted next Monday, February 23rd.