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The False Promise

Dan Willingham's The False Promise of Tech in Schools has a number of salient points, that it's useful to remind ourselves to pay attention too.

My thoughts then.

  1. Our gut feelings/intuition about what makes for useful learning experiences, have been skewed/led by the ed-tech memes that we've allowed to flow across education.

  2. Those same ed-tech memes have flowed into education by those who ultimately need to ensure they meet their sales targets.

  3. Not that there's anything wrong with that per se - just that we need to be OK and recognize that's why the ed-tech is there.

  4. It's not, despite all the lovely marketing words to the contrary, just "for the kids".

  5. Our ability to make decisions on our personal use of tech, doesn't automagically translate or scale into useful decisions about the use of tech in a classroom, a school, a district or indeed the entire education system.

  6. How we evaluate our decisions, regardless of how carefully we implement the ed-tech, needs to be completed with openness and humility - "and the courage to admit something isn’t working".

  7. In education we don't do point 6 well enough.

  8. Point 6 is really difficult for educational leaders in a high-stakes, high-cost environment, that's self-defined itself as "future-focused" - in a society and culture where "future-focused" sits upon us as a Jetsons vs Tesla vs Google wraparound reality, all embedded nicely in a Jony Ives designed blankscape.

  9. If we choose tools that don't appear like point 8 - are we still what we believe and say we are, are we still performing our duty of care for our students, and meeting the expectations of parents and communities?

  10. If we choose the tools of today, to meet the needs of those in front of us, are we still valid as schools, regardless of our ed-tech/future-focused appearances?

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