BFTP: Training wheels and technology

Posted by admin on

How do you expect me to learn to use a computer when the keys aren't in alphabetical order? teacher in Computer 101 training circa 1993.

Can learning to ride a bike teach us anything about learning to use technology as educators?

I helped a grandson successfully learn to ride a bike one Sunday using Grandpa's Secret to Success (no training wheels and no pedals). At the same time  I watched a neighborhood dad pushing his rather fearful daughter on a bike (with training wheels). It made me  think about what the toughest thing about riding a bike actually is.

It's the balance. If you can't balance, you can pedal like crazy, but you are not really riding the bike.


But once the balance is down, the pedaling is pretty easy.

We should ask ourselves what the toughest part of a any technology integration attempt is: the pedagogy (balance) or the technology (pedaling)?
I would argue that understanding and delivering differentiated instruction is more difficult than creating a course in a CMS that gives pre-tests and presents a variety of activities and resources. I would argue that understanding process writing is much more challenging than learning to use a word processor. I would argue that internalizing the need for immediate formative assessment is a lot harder than learning to create quizzes in GoogleForms. I would argue that understanding how to formulate a good research question is tricky while doing an effective Internet search is not especially difficult.
You get the idea.

I am still of the firm conviction that technology does not improve student achievement; but can and should support best practices that do. Gaining confidence with best pedagogical practices should come before adding the tech that supports it.

Original post 8/18/14