If “It’s not about the technology,” then What is it about?

Nature & Technology

This morning, high school English teacher and web master of Web English Teacher, Carla Beard credited me with a quote she used in her blog post, It’s Not About the Technology.  “The most important thing to remember about technology in our classrooms is that it is not about the technology.”  Well it  sounds like something I would say.  It’s what a lot of us are saying.  In fact, this may well be the mantra that is replacing Integrate Technology.  Yet, I’m not sure the statement is that much more useful. [Image ((Svenwerk, “Nature and Technology.” Svenwerk’s Photostream. 3 Mar 2006. 24 Sep 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/svenwerk/107267802/>. ))]

Of course, it helps to some degree, as Carla writes,

Last school year I made this concept (It’s Not About the Technology) my theme as I trained teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. For some the idea was already so ingrained that it went without saying. For others, though, this statement triggered a lightbulb moment. People almost seemed surprised to hear an advocate for technology saying this. They seemed to think that we thought it was about the technology. ((Beard, Carla. “”It’s not about the technology.”.” [Weblog The English Teacher Blog] 24 Sep 2008. 24 Sep 2008 <http://www.enotes.com/blogs/english-teacher-blog/2008-09/its-not-about-the-technology/>.))

I think that it is natural for us to focus on the technology.  Most of us grew up during a century that was, in many ways, defined by it’s machines.  We identify washing clothes with a clothes washing machine, lawn care with a lawn mower, and getting to the store with an automobile.  So, as we witness the emergence of new information and communication technologies, which many of us could not have imagined at the beginning of our careers, it is natural that, as we try to envision “21st century” education, we should try to paint that picture with brush strokes about technology.

To be truthful, I wish that it was about the technology.  It would be much easier for us to affect the changes in education that our children, inheritors of the “21st century,” need and deserve.  Without a beacon, we’re only floundering with a desire to change, without a vision, or choosing to desire no change at all.

So, if it isn’t about the technology, then what is it about?

Those who know me or read this blog know how I would answer that question, and perhaps even know the story of why.  But before I include that information here…

What do you think “it’s about?”

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.