How Long does it Take to Become a Tool

Playing or Working the ToolSeveral years ago, I had a conversation with a tech director for a school district in Arkansas.  I do not remember who it was, or what school district — but I was impress by the fact that the district was providing e-mail accounts on their own server, unfiltered.  This was a time before blogs and Wikipedia, and I didn’t know of any districts that were allowing students to use e-mail, except for a handful of Gaggle and ePals clients.

She told me that initially, they had a good bit of abuse, but if students were caught using e-mail inappropriately, then they lost their accounts for a period of time, commensurate to the abuse.  She said that the second year there was less, and less still during the third year.  They were in their 5th year of student e-mail, at the point of this conversation, and she could not think of any abuses for that year, which was more than half over.

There will be abuses of blogging, wiki publishing, Twitter-type chatting, etc.  It’s to be expected of 12 year olds.  But I wonder how long it takes for a new classroom technology/tool to evolve from being a new toy to play to becoming another learning tool, another part of schooling, a technology or tool to be worked?

Seems like an interesting research question.

Image Citation:
Han, Churl. “Churl’s Photostream.” Old and New. 25 Mar 2007. 25 Sep 2007 <>.

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.