Tech Itself is Not the Goal

I am digging deeper into the idea that technology is not the goal of instruction, but rather a way to form deeper learning. Audrey Watters explains the historical thinking of the rise of technology where the educational content was something to be delivered to a passive learner. This is similar to the way Blooms’ taxonomy of learning was structured, where the learner was passive and on the receiving end of the learning. I understand why in the 1990s educators chose to change the wording in order to reflect actions on behalf of the learner, using words such as remember, understand, and apply. Viewing learning as dynamic, alters the way in which the teacher and student interact with each other and gives the student more ownership of their learning.

This concept of taking action is something Watters also discusses when looking at networks. She states, “We must act to shape the learning networks we want to have.” This could be applied to online learning networks, but also to educational networks, which I realize can also be online. That inter-connectivity is what is so interesting and complicated about networks.

The network of learning has changed for students, and for this reason educators have changed their instruction. The SAMR model, for example, targets higher-order skills while using technology to go beyond merely enhancing learning to transforming it. It is important to think about the network of learners and the audience that our students can have as they use this model. Rather than a traditional essay, students can have an interactive experience with an authentic audience. Students are able to engage in their learning on a deeper level though the use of technology without technology itself being the learning goal.

3 thoughts on “Tech Itself is Not the Goal

  1. Yes. These are the questions we’re trying to sort through. And at the same time, there are very good salespeople filling classrooms with a great deal of software at the “substitution” level . I’ve been wondering if a parallel concern is the “academic” focus of too many kindergartens and preschool programs where children are doing glorified worksheets all day or — if the school is “techy” — doing inappropriate “digital worksheets” that are really at low cognitive levels and that can’t replace active play and exploration and work with a caring teacher. Thus — child-centered curriculum first, tech used primarily in ways that enable kids to do what they couldn’t otherwise and that all more kids to connect to learning and to each other.

    This is really solid sorting through of these perspectives in these readings and media. Tech does not teach. Tech supports learning in the best uses.


    1. I appreciate your comparison to the “academic” push we see in Kindergartens and preschools. I can see that same thinking with technology for younger children. Absolutely, we need child-centered curriculum first. I think people (both parents and educators) get caught up in wanting to introduce tech to young children without thinking of how it will actually enhance learning. So often people tell me that the purpose is just so they know how to do the tech.


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