Knowing the Right Tool for the Job

Day 28 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge from TeachThought...

Respond: Should Technology drive curriculum or vice versa?

This is a great question to reflect on in this day and age of "more technology, more technology, more technology"!  I have thought long and hard about this question over the past two years and have had to answer it countless times for faculty, parents, students and other stakeholders.  In my opinion, curriculum is always the focus and technology is meant to enhance the delivery, application, and/or acquisition.

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We are a 1:1 school where our students bring their own laptops.  In addition, we have iPads available for teachers to use in their classrooms when a mobile device seems more appropriate.  We have done a lot of training of our faculty; we have a Tech Committee made up of teachers who have participated in the visioning process and provided a sounding board for me as the Administrator.  We have an Ed Tech Specialist who is invaluable when it comes to helping teachers identify the "perfect" device, app, or website for their lesson.  With all of these pieces in place, my mantra has and always will be "meaningful integration of technology".

I do not believe in simply using technology for the sake of saying "we use it".  That does not do
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anything to enhance the learning experience.  I am fortunate to work in a private, all girls school in the middle of the Silicon Valley.  We have a number of resources available to us because of this combination of geography and demographics.  However, as Spidey knows: "With great power comes great responsibility."  We have a responsibility to teach our students how to use technology appropriately.  Part of that education includes learning how to discern the best tool for the task.  We can only effectively teach that if our teachers themselves know how to discriminate.  Thus, the curriculum is first and foremost.  Our job as educators is to guide our students through the learning process.  When a device or app is the best way to do that, then fantastic.  But when the best technology is good old paper and pen, then so be it.  Bottom line: Know what technology is available and use it to help, not hinder the learning.


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