Why am I Not Getting Through

Today, I’ll be working with educators in an independent school in Minnesota.  There will be an opening keynote address for the faculty, but then I spend the rest of the day with technology, media, art, and science folks, helping them struggle with some issues of modernizing instruction, making it more relevant to today’s information landscape.

If I ever say “Integrate Technology” today, may I be struck down!

Bronze Man on Tree Looking at TechnologyWhy is it that we can’t get past the technology barrier.  It seems that no matter how hard I try, to make it about the future, the kids, and the information, people still compliment me on a wonderful technology presentation.  If you use a computer and projector, then it’s about technology.  If you put your handouts on the web, it must be about technology.  If you’ve made a web site, then you must be talking about technology. [Image ((Svenwerk, “Nature and Technology.” Svenwerk’s Photostream. 3 Mar 2006. 22 Aug 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/svenwerk/107267802/>.))]

Here’s a quote about my speech to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools the other day, as reported in the local paper.

The keynote speaker was David Warlick, a 30-year educator who operates The Landmark Project out of Raleigh. Warlick shared many ideas on using technology and the Internet in the classroom to make learning more exciting for students and teachers.

Most of the article was about district initiatives that were presented by the superintendent, which is as it should be.  But I’m not talking about technology, like its something that you have to open your drawer and chose to use.  Technology is the drawer!  ..and it’s the paper and pencil! ..and it’s the voice and the conversation. 

I’m pretty sure that it was Alan Kay who said that, “Technology is anything that was invented after you were born.”  Does it have to stay that way?  At what point does it stop being the technology and become the medium — and become transparent?

This is a barrier for us, this sense that we’re striving to modernize classrooms by using more technology.  I still do not think that the kids do this.  When they go out and buy the latest game system, they are not buying the latest technology.  They’re buying better games.  They are buying better experiences.

Folks out there who are making valuable and sustainable uses of technology, do you still think of it as integrating technology?  If not, when did that stop?  When did it become sustainable?

I guess for me, it happened when I started thinking about my job as entirely about inventing and communicating, rather than helping people integrate technology.

“Stop Ranting!”

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.