Thursday, July 1, 2010

Technology or Pedagogy?

Remember when VCR's were the promise of education?

Remember when CD-ROM's were the promise of education?

Remember when Webquests were the promise of education?

Well...your students don't!

They remember your dumb jokes about a ninja riding a unicorn searching for smurfs, or your passion for The Giver and Rush.

Most "edutweeters" who talk about technology and its roll in the 21rst century classroom forget that the use of technology is simply putting lipstick on a pig.

Your use of technology does not make you a better teacher any more than lipstick makes a pig beautiful.

However, a sense of humor and passion built upon deep content knowledge certainly improves one's pedagogy in the students' eyes (the only thing that matters!).

I believe that teachers who do not, even refuse to, show their sense of humor and passion about their content area are doing much more harm than whether or not technology is included in the classroom.

When I think back upon my 7-12th grade years, the teachers I remember most showed a sense of humor and passion about their subject. To this day, I can't help but think of a piece of chalk every time I see someone smoking a cigarette because my tenth grade health teacher, Mr. Chaldu, used to "smoke" chalk in class.

Students are smart enough to know when a teacher is relying too heavily on technology and not actually teaching content with personality and passion. Students will eventually realize that technology is only a tool in their toolbox to use in order to exist better, that humor and passion are tools that enable them to live richly.

I don't want to be a flame flickering in the breeze of computer and LCD projector fans; rather, I want to be a bonfire around which my students get excited, like the ones at pep rally's before college football games.

Please rethink your pedagogy and realize that technology is simply another tool along with humor and passion in your pedagogical toolbox.

You can follow me on Twitter - @rushtheiceberg or read my blog.


  1. Great post and I totally agree. Humor and passion are essential to relationships and connections. With those magic can happen and students will learn.

  2. You, Sir, make Benedict Arnold look like a patriotic American!

    How dare you byte the hand that feeds you!

    Humor and passion? Do you see anything about humor and passion in the Common Core State Standards? Do you?!?

    Good thing you have tenure, buddy boy, or Bill, Melinda, and Arne would have your butt out in the street.

  3. @doyle

    Great comment and reminder!

    I'm not too worried about Bill and Melinda as they likely have a PC running Internet Explorer so they can't even get to education websites, or even get online for that matter.

    Arne doesn't even know there is such a thing as a teacher expressing their own thoughts online.

    I just hope my superintendent is not reading my thoughts!

  4. Great wake-up call for technophiles.

    I love the way you spin metaphors, Stephen.

  5. Love this post! In the classroom, as in life, it's the relationships and encounters with passionate people that we all remember best. Thank you :-)

  6. @Joan -

    Thank you! Isn't funny how teachers are so quick to try and bring "the real world" into their classroom, yet rarely crack smile - as is done in the real world?!?!