The Next Big Thing

In terms of bringing the latest and greatest technology to our students, do we always need to be going for the brightest, shiniest, new thing?  I think sometimes we get a little too caught up with wanting to constantly be on the cutting edge in our classrooms. Do I like to learn new tools, ideas, and strategies? Absolutely I do. It’s one way we can make student learning better. Of course with technology, there’s always something newer on the horizon. iDevice 1, iDevice 2, etc., etc. whatever it may be. Do we want it? Sure.  Do we always need it? I don’t think so. There are lots of awesome things happening with what we’ve got and we need to keep sharing them. It’s easy to forget those things with all the bad press education has been getting lately. Always grabbing for what’s new and shiny can tend to take focus off the great things happening already.

It just seems to me that we’re all too quick to label things we just learned about a year ago (or less) as “dated” or “yesterday’s news”. Do you agree? Think about anything you learned about a year ago. This can be an online publishing tool or it can be a great idea for integrating technology into a lesson. Do you still use it? Are you not going to share about it with other teachers or students if asked because it’s already old hat to you?

We’ve always got big things on the horizon. It’s important to work towards them and achieve them. Let’s just not be so quick to cast them aside when we finally do get to the next new thing.

8 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing”

  1. I do love this post. We can’t let ourselves get wrapped up in what’s new. Instead we need to wrap ourselves around what’s best – and then stick to our guns. It’s sometimes hard to know when to pull the trigger, but you can’t get caught up watching everyone else jump on the next shiny object.

  2. I think a lot of “things” would have more staying power and would be used much more successfully in classrooms if they were grounded in pedagogy and learning strategies rather than adopting a tool or device without really thinking through how it supports learning in a meaningful way. The fundamental question has to be, “How and why will this learning tool support learning?”

    Buffy Hamilton

  3. YES! I am SO THERE with you. 30 years into classroom computing and we have a subculture of educators who are satisfied enough constantly looking for the next gadget to play with. It’s about learning….not about iPads or whatever will come next!

  4. The technology first approach is bass ackwards. Figure out what you want kids to learn, then, if appropriate, find the technology most suitable for them to learn it. The focus should not be on tools, but on concepts and strategies. Ten years from now, NONE of our current tools will function as they do now, but most of the underlying concepts for using them will still apply.

  5. I’ve realized that I’ll never be on the cutting edge and that my learning curve will always be stuck in the curve (which I love, by the way). So, I try to model this for my students and am passionate about differentiating my instruction and my assessment to meet the needs of each and every one of students. If the latest and greatest tech happens to be that, than so be it. If not, let’s shoot for our students’ learning curve to always be in the curve too!

  6. My two cents: I think that it is always important to try out and test new tools available to us, but not all tools will be keepers. I try new recipes all the time and some are throw aways and we keep to use again. It’s the same ide,a I think, with technology – you have to try it but you don’t have to love it. The tools you love use again an promote and the ones you don’t (even if they are shiny and new) toss out.

  7. Thank you all very much for your thoughts and insight. If we put the technology on a pedestal, it’s always going to be about the tech and not about the learning. The mindset of always having to buy and “PD” teachers on the latest and greatest thing will do that very quickly.

  8. When you start working with educational technology there is not a day in which you do not find a new tool someone at the school desires or that you are convinced will be really useful for some of your colleagues. But most of them become nonsense really fast because their not connected to a learning experience. As an IT coordinator one of my goals at school has been transforming the idea that having a tech- rich classroom consists in packing it with new gadgets. Training teachers and helping them to build tech-rich projects integrated into their curriculum using the resources we have at school and free online content is been essential to keep learning in the center.Hope we are on the right path…

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