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Tech Up, or Tech Off

This is all about my desire to see the back of this quote:

"Technology won't replace teachers, but teachers who use technology will replace those who don't"

Which in my experience can sound an awful lot like "Tech up, or Tech off" to the very non-tech lovers I think it is hoping to reach.
It all started on twitter....
Original tweet @TechKnowPedia
Then due to my inability to be concise, discussion moved to the comments section at the original post by really friendly and interesting tweeter Steve Wheeler . (I'm much cheered by how lovely the edTech and ELT crowd on Twitter are actually. Evidently there is an undeserved, negative Twitter reputation much like the undeserved Mumsnet reputation. Probably the Daily Mail's fault in both cases. They seem to like going "BEWARE ! Evil lies here !!" about every form of Not On Our Site discussion.)
Anyway, moved to the comment section and then Blogger and Twitter ganged up on me and agreed I talk too much. Due to alleged crimes against character count I couldn't post my reply to Steve Wheeler. So I am putting it here instead. He is in bold. I am not. This way I won't lose what I said, in case I want to say it again, or change my mind and need to work out why.
Thanks for your comments TFLNinja (I don't know your real name, you've hidden it well!)

Sorry about that. I joined Twitter under my real name for the first time about 18 mths ago, as a person, not as a teacher. I'd only been on it 2 days and "The Spark" (that became a long drawn out, months long saga, ending in us having to get a new phone number and go ex-directory) happened. I think my husband would leave me if I left any trace of my online presence that would stimulate that bloke into spraying his personality disorder all over our lives again. Once savaged by Rottweiler, twice deeply paranoid and twitchy.

Any significant change has to be managed sensitively

I think that's it in a nutshell. I very much doubt anybody is raising barriers on purpose. It's just so easy when you are dead into something to be accidentally blinded to how it is received when you have a different starting point. I was all "singing to the choir, baby" the first time I heard The Line. The only reason why I was aware of how it could feel like a punch on the nose was because I was sitting next to my best friend, Who was slowly going purple. And not in a good way.

many of the current crop of teachers are as technically adept as the students they are teaching, and those who *are* resistant (or fearful) have ample opportunity to try to use technology in their teaching

How many of the current crop will still be teaching in five years time ? I can't see a case for wasting a single edTech-resistant, but capable and seasoned teacher when staff retention is an ongoing issue.

Motivation and engagement play a significant role in eroding resistance and disinterest in learning. That's one of the bigger selling points of edTech. Whereas putting people on the defensive with a nice cheery "You're Dooooooomed, doooooomed I tell you !" .....not so much.

Like seeds chucked on stony ground, opportunities and resources get wasted if resistance flavoured barriers are accidentally nurtured. We dumped "Because that's the way it is and you'll end up unemployable if you don't" as our lead message with the kids for a reason. Never mind the economic/time investment down the drain, it's too wasteful in *human* terms. Resistant to tech types *can* (mostly) be won over, to some degree. But it takes more carrot and a lot less stick.

I can't think of any valid excuse for teachers not to incorporate aspects of technology into formal education, and not to do so IMHO does a disservice to the children we teach

My son goes to an online British secondary school. Take away the tech, and we have an insurmountable geography barrier standing between him and a decent education that suits him. So I'm more keenly aware than most at just how life & education changing edTech can be and don't disagree with you at all that tech can and should feature in children's education.

However, if asked to choose between any old teachers + 100% tech friendly OR his teachers + a single lightbulb, a slate and a very tired blackboard , I'd go for the latter in a heartbeat. A good teacher with the ability to turn a child around, raise their expectations of themselves, give them a challenge and support the rise required... that is what I'd choose for my child. Even if that teacher made hissing sounds in the manner of a vampire confronted by silver every time you waggled an iPad in their direction.

Mind you, I'd much rather be offered a less stark either/or choice. In a perfect world we'd live a stone's throw from a school stuffed to the gills with good teachers, who offered a diverse array of special talents that they had honed because of a personal passion. I'm sure enough would have SuperTechPassion to ensure Squirto wasn't missing out digital-wise cos it's a popular enough interest for an awful lot of people. But I wouldn't make AllTeachers+Tech my line in the sand. I'd hate him to lose say, an English teacher who had the knack for inspiring children to read for the pure pleasure of it, on the basis that she still couldn't work a mouse.

How can teachers who don't exploit the power and potential of technology justify not using it

How can we TechHeads justify not exploiting the power and potential of "you catch bees with honey, not vinegar" to fan even teeny tiny glimmers of motivation and engagement ? Where's the upside to *not* changing the tone ? I don't think the sky would fall if the tone of the edTech message did a 180 and the outcome was observed to see if uptake improved.

when the children in the room next door are making videos, blogging, Skyping with children in a school in France or building robots?

Which has to weighed against how many more children are slogging through lesson where the wow-factor-tech is King and the education has been pushed into second place (if that). Or how many children are spending hours of learning on a project/unit where the "cheese on broccoli" tech layer added nothing more than several times as much expense, time and effort for the same/lesser learning outcomes. There's a reason why the number of pro edTech articles yelling "pedagogy before technology" aren't showing any signs of dwindling away to nothing.

Scott Thornbury came up with (or at least I think he did, maybe he was quoting ?) E-cubed (economy, ease and efficacy). I started actively using his E3 again when even I, Mrs AniPadSupergluedToEachHand, had to recognise that for every truly tech enhanced lesson I was reading/hearing about, watching, or doing ...there were a notable number where the tech aspect quite clearly threw at least 2 Es out of the classroom window. I don't blame teachers for that. Having been told "tech up, or tech off" via The Line, it's not all that surprising that there might be rather a lot of eBox ticking & iAr*e covering going on.

For that reason alone I believe that the 'overused line' will continue to be used.
I agree with you that it will continue to be used. A lot of people who like edTech seem to love it. To them it smells of carrot not stick. They either can't, or won't see the cat in the rain. And for a few of them in my neck of the woods, even when they do catch a glimpse of the soggy moggy who could have instead been plonked in front of a virtual 3D fire to the point of iConversion, they won't give up The Line and all its ramifications. Because on some level they kind of feel the non techies deserve the discomfort of being on the wrong side of the window.

Increasingly school leaders are looking for teachers who can exploit the full potential of every resource that is available.

Increasingly school leaders are looking for teachers full stop. Due to teacher flight from the profession. Status and pay are dropping in real terms, whereas stresses and strains are not. Perhaps not ramping up the "do all of the things, for all of the people, all of the time" pressures might help with that. Maybe SL (or the gov leaning on them) might consider trying something different, like choosing good people, with solid teaching skills and personal-passion driven, diverse areas of specific expertise. A staffroom made of Masters, not Jacks. Even if that means *some* staff members are giving tech a wide berth, while still doing a great job of educating and bringing other expertise to the school-wide table.

Again, I'd take an excellent, but mouse-phobic teacher over a so-so one whose CV dripped with I-Can-Do-isms for my kid. Very, very few people can be all singing, all dancing, super stars at everything. So unless offering a job of a lifetime with the salary and benefits to match there's no point most SLs making All Round Rock Star an "indispensable" on the job ad wish list. There just aren't enough genuine Elvis Costellos to go around. Setting an unrealistic bar for puny humans means you risk getting a Peter Andre or 2 in your staffroom, cos he looked good on paper due to a genuine talent for self promotion masking mediocrity.

What happened to the teachers who resisted the introduction of pencils, paper (which replaced the slate), photocopying or educational television? There are none (that I know of).

Apples and Oranges.

Slate is to Paper/Purple ink repo machine is to photocopier... as peach is to nectarine. Small learning curve. A big and blindingly obvious gain. Even to the staffroom's Luddite in Chief it must have been clear from the get go that resistance was futile.

Educational television, as I remember it, was us shoved in front of the Big TV ....IN SILENCE CHILDREN !....which then terrified us with horror films about child murdering farms and foot munching escalators. That was no steep learning curve, they could use a plug already and were Masters of the Shhhhh ! So that is as tough skinned apple is to peeled grapes. One less lesson to plan. Just buy extra tissues.

IMO, in strong contrast with the above, non-tech is to edTech as Apple is to Unpeeled Durian.

The ones whose mouths water cos they've had a taste, and loved it, don't get that to the militant Apple Munchers the Durian represents loads of time and effort, grappling cack-handedly with unco-operative spikes. All for the sake of getting a rotting zombie smell up their nose that they have NO desire to add to their mouth. So they retreat to the decidedly less offensive apple and genuinely do not understand the techies enthusiastic munching. "Tech up or Tech off" just adds spikier spikes and pongier pongs to what can already be a bit of an uphill battle for everybody concerned.

As time goes by and the technologies we currently see as 'exotic' become mundane and are absorbed into the teacher's toolkit, so the new and emerging technologies appear on the horizon. One thing is certain - there will always be change, and the teaching profession is one of those that is at the centre of this maelstrom. I think for that reason alone, the maxim will remain and retain its relevance.

I agree there will always be change/progress in our tools. And there will always be trailblazers, who will always swell in numbers, always getting increasingly irritated by the latest batch of Apple munchers. And they will in all likelihood still keep using The Line (or latest reincarnation), with the same effect it has always had.

So far I haven't seen any notable interest in edTech circles in stopping that particular phrase train. Which is a pity, cos I think it is as useful for encouraging reluctants...as splashing somebody (fannying around with protracted toe dipping) in the shallow end is.
Totally recommend following both Tweeters above, whatever field of education you're in, or however you feel about EdTech. They don't bite, even if you see things from a different angle. Some accounts seem to recycle same old, same old, but the ones I linked to give "fresh stuff" with an original slant, which is refreshing after you've trawled through quite a lot of rehashed "articles". These days it feels like it's the grassroots bloggers in the main who write the stuff with real depth and thought, whereas quite a few of the big hitters in the Media World seem to be stuck in a rut. So yeah. Like Twitter, but I think the experience is enhanced by pootling around in the search faciltity and looking for people to follow, rather than brands/entities.
Why is Blogsy not checking my spelling ? There was no "Won't be loved by Dyslexics" on the tin when I was buying it. Marvellous.

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