6 reasons you should ditch your edtech

Technology makes lots of opportunities possible in the classroom. But it isn't the silver bullet in education. Here are six times when you should ditch your tech. (Flickr / Rex Pe)

Technology makes lots of opportunities possible in the classroom. But it isn’t the silver bullet in education. Here are six reasons to ditch your tech. (Flickr / Rex Pe)

Technology in education is transformational. Revolutionary.

Today’s technology in our pockets can do what cost us thousands of dollars in equipment in the past.

It can connects us to people and places and events virtually anywhere in the world.

But it’s not the be-all, end-all in education. It’s not the silver bullet.

And there are times when we shouldn’t use it at all.

That’s right. In my own classroom, there are times when we set all technology aside. I’m a huge advocate for the power of technology in the classroom, but I go unplugged in class on a regular basis.

There are solid reasons we should ditch our edtech. But I’m not going to go the “frustrated teacher” route. To me, spotty WiFi and “too many websites/apps/tools for me to keep up with” aren’t enough to swear off using technology (although they are legitimate frustrations).

No, today I want to focus on student-centered reasons for ditching our edtech. I want to make changes that will increase engagement and create quality learning experiences. I want my students to be better students — no, better people, better citizens, better members of the workforce — because of the changes I make.

If I’m going to ditch the tech in class, my students had better benefit from it … not me.

In my opinion, you should ditch your edtech in class …

1. If there’s a more efficient way. I always thought this was a no-brainer. In the past, I’ve tried to force technology into places where it just doesn’t help. Example: taking quick opinion polls with a tool like Socrative or TodaysMeet when it’s just easier to do a show of hands in class. (For the record, I still find myself forcing technology in my classes today. When I find myself doing that, I have to do some more forcing — force myself to quit it!)

If using paper to do an activity in class is more efficient, then just use the paper. (Although you might think of improvements in “virtual paper” that might make it worth the slight delay of going digital, like access anywhere, sharing widely or the ability to search.)

Efficiency isn’t enough reason to do anything in education, in my opinion. We can’t rework our schools simply to make our work faster and simpler. It can be a great contributing factor, though.

2. If your students are burned out on tech. I’ve gotten here before (and still do … did you read about my student who wanted to be “creative, just not computer creative” recently?)

It happens for a variety of reasons. We get enamored with certain tech tools. We get in a rut and rely on the same old thing. We see others using a new app or site and we want to work it into our own classes, forgoing the “technology supports sound pedagogy, not the other way around” principle.

As teachers, we have to prepare our students for the future. But throwing technology at them to make them “future ready” just isn’t the answer.

We have to keep our finger on the pulse of our students’ interest and curiosity. Like anything else, if something we do isn’t working, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rework it.

3. If you want to mix things up. I use TodaysMeet in my class to let my students answer quick questions individually. I like that their answers are all on the screen at once and that I can scroll back and revisit their answers later.

Sometimes, though, I like to mix things up. I have a set of small dry erase boards, and we’ll answer those quick questions with them from time to time. The kids love using them — choosing a favorite color of marker, adding little illustrations to their answers (if time permits), making it as neat or sloppy as they want (as long as I can read it).

A little change can always do students — and you! — some good.

4. If you’re going for a certain sensory experience. Technology is great at a lot of things, but duplicating the experience of feeling something in real life just isn’t one of them.

In a comment on my “creative, just not computer creative” post, Joan Brown summed this up wonderfully. She said:

We have so many students picking up crochet, woodworking, sculpture, sewing and more because they are tactile. As humans, we want to experience creativity in all our senses. There is nothing like the smell of paper mache or sawdust. There is nothing like the feel of well sanded wood or a soft yarn. Kids are more than ever drawn to these arts because of the senses. Computers only give us visual and sound, nothing more.

Matt Miller — not the textbook ditcher, but the excellent social studies teacher — wrote a great blog post called “Low Tech Learning” where he said, “There is still a need to accomplish things with your hands.” Exactly.

5. If you want to connect with your students. Technology gives us instant access to people all over the globe via email, instant messages and the like. What it can’t do is look a kid in the eye, pat him/her on the back and tell him/her that everything is going to be all right.

The management of face-to-face relationships is a somewhat dying art. Text messages, social media and the like communicate quickly, but there’s a lot that’s lost in them from real interpersonal communication.

Teachers sometimes worry that they’ll be replaced by online classes and technology. I really doubt that. As long as we’re providing that human touch and meaningful educational experiences, I think teachers will always have a role to fill. Technology won’t replace good teachers, but it might replace bad teaching.

6. If you’re doing something where tech isn’t relevant. I teach high school Spanish, and I’ve found tons of places where technology impacts my teaching. Spoken, conversational Spanish is not one of them.

I’ve found ways to record students speaking Spanish (Google Voice is my old standby, but I’m really liking AudioBoom for that right now). But that’s just not the same as speaking face-to-face with another human being.

My students try to fall back on Google Translate to help fill the gaps in words they just don’t know yet. There’s some benefit to that (although I’ve found that Word Reference is much better for getting the right word in the right context).

If they find themselves face-to-face with another real person, Google Translating isn’t going to get them far. There are apps that will talk for you, translating your spoken English to another language. But those tools won’t develop trust like speaking another person’s language. Interacting with someone’s smart phone won’t help create a relationship.

The relationship and trust come with real communication. Real communication comes from real, face-to-face, voice-to-voice practice. My students can’t get that with artificial interaction with a computer.

Question: What are other reasons for ditching your edtech? Do you agree with any of the reasons on the list? Disagree? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

  Date Event / Event Details City / More Info
+ 01/19/2015
Western Wayne (Ind.) Schools Pershing, IN
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That Textbook: Why and How?Private Event
+ 01/31/2015
9:00-12:00 p.m.
U. Indy's Power of Education Conference Indianapolis, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook: My JourneyPublic Event
Sponsor:University of Indianapolis Student Education AssociationRegister to attend
Venue:University of Indianapolis Schwitzer Hall Basement
Indianapolis, IN
+ 02/03/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
World Languages Workshop @ Lafayette Jeff HS Lafayette, IN
  Venue:Jefferson High School
1801 S. 18th St.
Lafayette, IN 47905
765-772-4700
Private Event
+ 02/26/2015
9:00-4:05 p.m.
Indiana Conference on Learning Indianapolis, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook (et al)Public Event
Sponsor:American Student Achievement InstituteRegister to attend
Venue:Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel
2544 Executive Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46241
317-248-2481
Get more information
+ 03/18/2015
08:00-04:00 p.m.
Fall Creek Intermediate School Workshop Fishers, IN
  Venue:Fall Creek Intermediate School
12011 Olio Road
Fishers, IN 46037
(317) 915-4220
Private Event
+ 03/19/2015
7:30-3:00 p.m.
Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) Schools Fishers, IN
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
+ 04/09/2015
04:00-06:00 p.m.
PVETI Social Media Workshop Rockville, IN
  Sponsor:Parke-Vermillion Education and Training Interlocal (PVETI)Private Event
Venue:Rockville High School
506 N. Beadle St.
Rockville, IN 47872
765-569-5686
+ 04/11/2015—04/12/2015
08:30-05:30 p.m.
Indiana Google Apps for Education Summit Franklin, IN
  Sponsor:EdTech TeamPublic Event
Venue:Franklin Community High School
2600 Cumberland Drive
Franklin, IN 46131
317-346-8100
Register to attend
+ 05/01/2015
09:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ CIESC Indianapolis, IN
  Venue:Central Indiana Educational Service Center
6036 Lakeside Blvd., Building A
Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-759-5555
Public Event
+ 05/08/2015—05/09/2015
Education On Air by Google for Education  
  Sponsor:Google for EducationPublic Event
+ 05/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop (CIESC)  
  Sponsor:Central Indiana Educational Service CenterRegister to attend
+ 05/11/2015—05/13/2015
Ivy Tech Community College Tech Workshop  
  Sponsor:Ivy Tech Community College of IndianaPrivate Event
+ 06/02/2015—06/03/2015
PowerED Up Conference Leopold, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Perry Central Jr/Sr HS
18677 Old State Road 37
Leopold, IN 47551
812-843-5576
+ 06/04/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
HSE Summer Learning Fair Fishers, IN
  Sponsor:Hamilton Southeastern SchoolsPrivate Event
Venue:Fishers High School
13000 Promise Road
Fishers, IN 46038
(317) 915-4290
+ 06/08/2015
Greencastle EdTech Conference Greencastle, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
+ 06/10/2015
08:00-04:00 p.m.
Connecting the 4 C's Conference @ Mt. Vernon (Ind.) Mount Vernon, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Mount Vernon High School
700 Harriett Street
Mount Vernon, IN 47620
812-833-5136
Register to attend
+ 06/11/2015—06/12/2015
8:00-3:00 p.m.
Yorktown WeLearn Conference Yorktown, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningRegister to attend
Venue:Yorktown High School
1100 S. County Road 575 West
Yorktown, IN 47396
(765) 759-2550
Get more information
+ 06/15/2015—06/16/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Summer Spark Symposium Milwaukee, WI
  Venue:University School of Milwaukee
2100 West Fairy Chasm Road
Milwaukee, WI 53217
414-352-6000
Public Event
+ 06/17/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
eLEAD Madison County Anderson, IN
  Sponsor:CAPE of Madison CountyPublic Event
Venue:Anderson University
1100 E. 5th St.
Anderson, IN 46012
+ 06/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Seymour Schools Tech Workshop Seymour, IN
  Sponsor:Seymour Community SchoolsPublic Event
Venue:Seymour High School
1350 W. 2nd St.
Seymour, IN 47274
812-522-4384
+ 06/23/2015—06/24/2015
Digipalooza 2015 Scottsburg, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Scottsburg Middle School
425 S. 3rd St.
Scottsburg, IN 47170
812-752-8926
+ 06/25/2015—06/26/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
South Vermillion trAnSfoRM Conference Clinton, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:South Vermillion High School
770 Wildcat Drive
Clinton, IN 47842
765-832-3551
+ 06/27/2015
09:00-03:00 p.m.
#ReadTL15 Conference Reading, West Berkshire, UK
  Sponsor:Reading College (Reading, West Berkshire, United Kingdom)Public Event
Venue:Reading College
King's Road, Reading, West Berkshire RG1 4HJ
Reading, West Berkshire, UK
United Kingdom
+44 800 371434
Register to attend
+ 06/28/2015—07/01/2015
ISTE Conference 2015 Philadelphia, PA
  Full-day Seminar:Sharing Is Caring: Collaborative Google Apps ActivitiesPublic Event
Sponsor:International Society for Technology in EducationRegister to attend
Venue:Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
800-428-9000
Get more information
+ 07/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
USD 242 Weskan Schools Staff Development Weskan, KS
  Venue:Weskan Schools
219 Coyote Blvd.
Weskan, KS 67762
785-943-5222
Private Event
+ 07/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Northeastern Middle School Workshop Fountain City, IN
  Venue:Northeastern Middle School
7295 U.S. 27 North
Fountain City, IN 47341
(765) 847-1331
Private Event
+ 07/24/2015
08:00-3:00 p.m.
Greater Clark Connected Conference Jeffersonville, IN
  Sponsor:Greater Clark County SchoolsPublic Event
+ 07/28/2015—07/29/2015
Catching the Wave of eLearning Lafayette, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
+ 07/30/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Seymour Schools Tech Workshop Seymour, IN
  Sponsor:Seymour Community SchoolsPrivate Event
Venue:Seymour High School
1350 W. 2nd St.
Seymour, IN 47274
812-522-4384
+ 08/10/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Idabel Public Schools  
  Sponsor:Idabel (OK) Public SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 08/13/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Palmer ISD (Texas) Palmer, TX
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
Venue:Palmer Independent School District
Palmer, TX
+ 08/18/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Brandywine Heights Area School District Topton, PA
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATE 
Sponsor:Brandywine Heights Area School District
+ 09/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Cascade Middle School Clayton, IN
  Venue:Cascade Middle School
6423 S. County Road 200 West
Clayton, IN 46118
(317) 539-9285
Private Event
+ 09/15/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ SIEC Jasper, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Public Event
Sponsor:Southern Indiana Education Center
+ 09/23/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ WVEC West Lafayette, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
+ 09/24/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ CIESC Indianapolis, IN
  Workshop:DItch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Central Indiana Educational Service Center
+ 09/25/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
MSD of Steuben Co. (Ind.) Angola, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:MSD of Steuben County
Venue:Angola High School
350 S. John McBride Ave.
Angola, IN 46703
260-665-2186
+ 10/03/2015—10/03/2015
weLEAD Symposium Islamabad, Pakistan
  Venue:Margalla Hotel
Islamabad, Pakistan
Pakistan
Public Event
+ 10/06/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Anderson (Ind.) Schools Anderson, Indiana
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:Anderson Community Schools
+ 10/07/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ Region 8 ESC Decatur, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Region 8 Educational Service Center
+ 10/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ NIESC Plymouth, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Northern Indiana Educational Services Center
Venue:Christo's Banquet Center
830 Lincolnway E, Plymouth
Plymouth, IN 46563
+ 10/12/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Tyler ISD Tyler, TX
  Sponsor:Tyler Indpendent School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 10/15/2015—10/16/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference (Indiana) Noblesville, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Connected Educators ConferencePublic Event
Venue:Noblesville High School
18111 Cumberland
Noblesville, IN
Register to attend
+ 10/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Mt. Vernon CSC (Indiana) Fortville, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation
+ 11/10/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Cascade Middle School Clayton, IN
  Venue:Cascade Middle School
6423 S. County Road 200 West
Clayton, IN 46118
(317) 539-9285
Private Event
+ 11/11/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools (Indiana) Fishers/Noblesville, Indiana
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
Sponsor:Hamilton Southeastern Schools
+ 11/14/2015
09:00-02:30 p.m.
Northeast Literacy Retreat Fort Wayne, IN
   Public Event
+ 11/17/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ ECESC Connersville, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:East Central Educational Service Center
+ 11/18/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook @ WCIESC Greencastle, Indiana
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:West Central Indiana Educational Service Center
+ 11/19/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Elgin Local Schools (Ohio) Elgin, OH
  Sponsor:Elgin Local SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 01/13/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Madison eLearning Madison, IN
   Private Event
+ 01/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hudson ISD (Texas) Lufkin, TX
  Venue:Hudson Indpendent School District
6735 Ted Trout Drive
Lufkin, TX 75904
936-875-3351
Private Event
+ 01/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
South Putnam Greencastle, IN
  Sponsor:South Putnam SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 02/03/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Sheridan MS/HS Sheridan, IN
  Sponsor:Sheridan Community SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 02/09/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Southern Indiana Education Center Jasper, IN
  Sponsor:Southern Indiana Education CenterPublic Event
Venue:Southern Indiana Education Center
1102 Tree Lane Drive
Jasper, IN 47546
812-482-6641
Register to attend
+ 02/15/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Educational Service Unit #13 Scottsbluff, NE
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
Sponsor:Educational Service Unit #13
+ 02/16/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Rockford Public Schools Rockford, MI
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Private Event
Sponsor:Rockford Public Schools
+ 02/24/2016—02/25/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference St. Charles, IL
  Sponsor:Illinois Computing EducatorsPublic Event
Venue:Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center
4051 E. Main St.
St. Charles, IL 60174
(630) 584-6300
Register to attend
+ 02/25/2016—02/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference (Illinois) St. Charles, IL
  Sponsor:Illinois Computing EducatorsPublic Event
+ 03/07/2016
01:15-03:30 p.m.
Mandan Public Schools Mandan, ND
  Sponsor:Mandan Public School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 03/09/2016—03/11/2016
MACUL Conference Grand Rapids, MI
  Sponsor:Michigan Association for Computer Users in LearningPublic Event
Venue:DeVos Place
303 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 742-6500
Register to attend
+ 03/14/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Concordia Lutheran HS Fort Wayne, IN
  Sponsor:Concordia Lutheran High SchoolPrivate Event
+ 03/23/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Westwood Community School District Sloan, IA
  Sponsor:Westwood Community School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 04/13/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Wabash Valley Education Center West Lafayette, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook!Public Event
Sponsor:Wabash Valley Education CenterRegister to attend
Venue:Wabash Valley Education Center
3061 Benton Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 463-1589
+ 04/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Monroe #1 BOCES (New York) Fairport, N.Y.
  Full-day Seminar:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
Sponsor:Monroe #1 BOCES
+ 04/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Caesar Rodney School District Camden, DE
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Venue:Caesar Rodney High School
239 Old North Road
Camden, DE 19934
+ 05/03/2016
Paoli Community School Corporation Paoli, IN
  Venue:To be determined
Paoli, IN
Private Event
+ 05/25/2016
09:00-09:45 a.m.
Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference Portland, OR
  Sponsor:The Bureau of Labor and Industries, Oregon Building Congress and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.Public Event
Venue:DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center
1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR
Register to attend
+ 05/31/2016
10:30-12:00pm
West Central Career Cooperative Crawfordsville, IN
  Venue:Crawfordsville Country Club
Crawfordsville, IN
Private Event
+ 06/06/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
PowerED Up Conference Leopold, IN
  Venue:Perry Central Schools
18677 Old State Road 37
Leopold, IN 47551
(812) 843-5576
Public Event
+ 06/07/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Making a Splash with Digital Learning Conference Batesville, IN
  Venue:Batesville Community School Corporation
626 N. Huntersville Road
Batesville, IN 47006
(812) 934-2194
Public Event
+ 06/08/2016—06/09/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ignite Your Superpower Lafayette, IN
  Venue:Sunnyside Intermediate School
530 N 26th St
Lafayette, IN 47904
(765) 771-6100
Public Event
+ 06/13/2016—06/14/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Summer Spark (Wisconsin) Milwaukee, WI
  Sponsor:University School of MilwaukeePublic Event
+ 06/15/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
REMAST Conference (South Dakota) Brookings, S.D.
  Sponsor:South Dakota State Noyce Scholarship ProgramPublic Event
+ 06/20/2016
Indianapolis Sister Cities Int'l Conference Indianapolis, IN
  Keynote:Connecting Your Classroom to the WorldPublic Event
Sponsor:Indianapolis Sister Cities InternationalRegister to attend
Venue:Covenant Christian High School
7525 W. 21st St.
Indianapolis, IN 46214
+ 06/22/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Western North Dakota ESA Dickinson, ND
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
+ 06/26/2016—06/29/2016
ISTE Conference Denver, CO
  Venue:Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Public Event
+ 07/12/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
MSD of Martinsville Martinsville, IN
  Sponsor:MSD of MartinsvillePrivate Event
+ 07/13/2016—07/14/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Pulaski County Special School District Little Rock, AR
  Sponsor:Pulaski County Special School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 07/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Sheridan/Hamilton Heights Sheridan, IN
   Public Event
+ 07/19/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Launching INquiry Fishers, IN
  Venue:Fishers High School College & Career Academy
13000 Promise Rd
Fishers, IN 46038
Public Event
+ 07/20/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Blended Learning Summit Salina, KS
  Sponsor:Smoky Hill Education Service CenterPublic Event
Venue:Smoky Hill Education Service Center
605 E. Crawford
Salina, KS 67401
785-825-9185
+ 07/21/2016
08:30-04:00 p.m.
iPadpaloozaEastTX Longview, TX
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Public Event
Sponsor:Region 7 Education Service CenterRegister to attend
Venue:Pine Tree High School
900 Northwest Drive
Longview, TX 75604
(903) 295-5031
Get more information
+ 07/22/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Tyler ISD Tyler, TX
  Sponsor:Tyler ISD 
+ 07/25/2016—07/26/2016
E3 Technology Conference Warsaw, IN
  Venue:Warsaw High School
1 Tiger Lane
Warsaw, IN 46580
(574) 371-5098
Public Event
+ 08/01/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Catholic High School New Iberia, LA
  Sponsor:Catholic High SchoolPrivate Event
Venue:Catholic High School
1301 de La Salle Drive
New Iberia, LA 70560
+ 08/05/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Fort Wayne Lutheran Schools Partnership Fort Wayne, IN
  Sponsor:Fort Wayne Lutheran Schools PartnershipPrivate Event
+ 08/09/2016
Southwest School Corporation Sullivan, IN
  Venue:Southwest School Corporation
110 North Main Street
Sullivan, IN 47882
(812) 268-6311
Private Event
+ 08/11/2016
Groesbeck ISD Tech Conference Groesbeck, TX
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Private Event
Venue:Groesbeck Independent School District
1202 N. Ellis
Groesbeck, TX 76642
(254) 729-4100
+ 08/15/2016
Beggs Public Schools Beggs, OK
  Venue:Beggs Public Schools
1201 West 9th
Beggs, OK 74421
(918) 267-3628
Private Event
+ 08/16/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Etoile ISD Etoile, TX
  Sponsor:Etoile ISDPrivate Event
+ 08/17/2016
8:00-3:00 pm
Tech Academy  
   Private Event
+ 08/22/2016—08/23/2016
West Central School District Hartford, SD
  Venue:West Central School District
705 E. 2nd St.
Hartford, SD 57033
(605) 528-3217
Private Event
+ 08/24/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Walled Lake Consolidated School District  
   Public Event
+ 08/25/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hillsboro School District Hillsboro, OR
  Sponsor:Hillsboro School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 08/29/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Service Learning School District Detroit, MI
  Sponsor:Service Learning School District 
+ 09/16/2016
New Prairie High School New Carlisle, IN
  Venue:New Praire High School
New Carlisle, IN
Private Event
+ 09/19/2016
Big Walnut Local Schools Sunbury, OH
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATE: Tech Like a PIRATEPrivate Event
Venue:Big Walnut Local Schools
36 Harrison St
Sunbury, OH 43074
(740) 965-3205
+ 09/20/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
NH Best Practices in Curriculum, Assessment and Assessment Conference Concord, NH
  Sponsor:New Hampshire School Administrators AssociationPublic Event
Venue:Grappone Conference Center
Concord, NH
+ 10/12/2016—10/13/2016
Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency Betterdorf, IA
  Sponsor:Mississippi Area Bend Education AgencyPrivate Event

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21 thoughts on “6 reasons you should ditch your edtech

  1. I totally agree. I was just talking about this with someone at my school. Students hate it when teachers use technology just to say they’re using technology. They want meaningful lessons created that engage them in a different style of learning. This doesn’t have to be achieved with technology. I find that the “non-tech” days are just as important (and sometimes help me create relationships even more) as the tech days. Students still love to act things out, make up songs/poems, write on the desks with EXPO markers, and more. A poorly planned lesson doesn’t become magical just because it has technology. And just because there is no use of technology in a class period doesn’t mean learning isn’t occuring. We need to use the technology to enhance amazing lessons. We shouldn’t force it just because it is the cool thing to do. Students see right through that, and start to resent us for it.

    • Stewart, you just hit the nail on the head. “A poorly planned lesson doesn’t become magical just because it has technology.” “We need to use the technology to enhance amazing lessons.” And when we force technology just for technology’s sake, students DO notice and it turns them off of using it all together sometimes. Very insightful. Thanks!

  2. What a great article on “6 reasons you should ditch your ed-tech!” When someone says the students are smarter than we are, related to technology, yes I agree. But when the students google to get an answer, and they select the first answer, which is incorrect, who really is smarter? Maybe a title for your next blog.

    • I’ve also learned that just because they may be called “Digital Natives” doesn’t mean they know how to use the technology in an educational arena. They can take pics, post them, create videos, but sometimes lack when try to create a great presentation using the same mediums.

  3. Great blog post- you hit on a lot of great reasons to go tech-less for a short time. I agree with all of them. My 6th graders LOVE tech but also LOVE expericnces and hands-on and sometimes “old school” is most efficient and effective. Thanks for being bold with this post!

  4. I enjoyed your #6 reason the most, because I too am a Spanish teacher. I have yet to see an app or website that can give the ‘raised eyebrow look of confusion’ like an actual human can. Not to mention, I love it when my first year students tell me (courtesy of some-kind of translation app/website) ‘Hay cinco chivos en mi familia.’ I am usually very surprised by that statement since ‘un chivo’ is a kid, as in a baby goat, not a human. I do have my Spanish students do some of their written homework via Google classroom and have had them record short video projects of themselves telling a story to the computer camera as if it were a person. So I am not anti-tech, I just think there is a time and place for it. Because before we know it the pencil and paper might appear in a historical museum as an ‘artifact of communication’.

    • Pat, I love this comment! For you, it’s “chivos” … for me, it’s “ventiladora”, as in “I’m a fan of ____” (supporter of a team vs. object that blows air). Your statement sums it all up very nicely: there IS a time and place for using technology, and the time and place is not “all the time” and “everywhere.” Thanks for your insight and contribution.

  5. Great post Matt. Last year I went from a school with very limited tech access, to basically 1-1. I was so excited to have the opportunity to integrate tech so easily, I found myself overusing it. I’ve since found sense of balance and regularly switch between tech and pen to paper exercises. I’m especially a fan of the visible thinking routines. My students quite obviously enjoy the tactile interaction with a big piece of paper and some markers and sticky notes too. Even if it means they are often doodling around the edges, I see the benefits in a balances approach for sure! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. I especially appreciated the section on face to face usage.
    I am afraid as a society we are losing that ability to sit and look at a person and discuss the world. Using too much technology does not create human relationships.

    • I agree with that to a point, Karen. Text communication (social media, text messaging, etc.) can leave a lot to be lost in translation (i.e. tone, inflection, meaning, etc.) Plus, when we rely on those means of communication in place of a real, face-to-face conversation, I think we’re missing out on what it really means to be human.

      However, that said, using technology can also give us opportunities to communicate when we wouldn’t be able to otherwise (i.e. video chats with distant family/friends, texting with someone in an important situation when a call wouldn’t do, etc.). As in everything else in life, I think the right balance is key.

  7. I agree with all the reasons to ditch edtech. Using technology may be more efficient for teachers, but not necessarily more effective. Yes, technology is a must for our students future, but not necessary to use for every lesson. Our students interests and curiosity plays an important role in their learning. As Miller says, “Good teaching trumps good tools.” I totally agree that a lesson can be just as effective and efficient with paper and pencil. Technology should be used to enhance a lesson when possible, but don’t force it if it’s not relevant. A balance between the two would probably work well.

  8. As much as I am fascinated with technology I still value human involvement and relationships. A computer has no “tone” in its voice or a pat on the shoulder. Teenagers are desperate for attention and edification which is not available from a computer. So for me, just as pencil and paper are tools of the trade, I see computers as tools of the trade, not the the replacement.

  9. I teach 8th grade Sience and my students LOVE doing labs! They love mixing things together to see what will happen. They love setting things on fire! And they absolutely go crazy with excitement if I plan a lab involving food!

  10. Sometimes there’s nothing like holding a novel published 50 years ago in your hands. Sometimes your students will want to draw on paper. And sometimes you read Teach Like a Pirate and realize the kinesthetic hook means your students should BE the opinion meter instead of using Today’s Meet or Answer Garden. And finally, when I do Super Happy Fun Circle Time Fridays (calling an activity fun, even when you make them write all hour, makes kids believe it is fun, and letting them move their desks into a circle once a week makes them happy.) with my sophomores in English 2, and they start with their own paper and story but end up with someone else’s story “to end,” a paper or notebook is much easier to pass to the left or right, once every minute than say, a Chrombook would be.

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