I am currently attending my first ISTE Conference. I was extremely excited to attend this event with over 20,000 educators. While I was eagerly anticipating ISTE, I now realize my focus was misguided. I was fixating on how to incorporate technology, not why we should incorporate educational technology.
While preparing for ISTE, I highlighted sessions related to 3-D printing, 1:1 implementation, and coding. I certainly believe these resources can transform instruction, but I now realize my narrow focus on technology resources was problematic. This problem is illustrated in a visual created by Bill Ferriter.
While this visual has been around for over 4 years, I was reintroduced to it during a session at ISTE. It reminded me that students want to use technology to connect, collaborate, and take action. Technology implementation is essential in a 21st century classroom, but we must reflect on the purpose of incorporating technology. Are we using a new app because we learned about it at a conference, or are we using it because it will complement a lesson? Will it help students take ownership of their own learning and allow them to make, create, and collaborate?
ISTE is a good reminder that effective tech implementation begins with “Why” not “How”. Technology is a tool, not an outcome.