I’m a verbal processor, which means sometimes I don’t really even understand something I know until the very first time I articulate it. I had a profound one of these verbal eureka moments last week as I participated in a panel discussion on technology in math and science education. The prompt I was to respond to was something to the effect of “Describe some of the ways in which technology is being used in schools to support math and science instruction.” How I responded is as follows:
I get a little uneasy whenever the focus of the conversation is technology. That’s not where our focus should be. I think the reason we get so caught up in conversations about technology is that there is such a distinct lack of technology in many schools in contrast to the ubiquity of technology in the “real world.” So, to me, the goal of technology integration should actually be about making it fade into the background where it belongs.
I explained that it’s parallel to the way Daniel Pink describes money as a motivator. It only actually matters when there’s not enough of it. Pink suggests that we pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. Similarly, the goal of technology integration in schools should be to provide enough access to tech (and non-tech, of course) tools that we can take the issue of technology off the table and shift our focus to conversations about the things that actually matter.