Get it right from the start of school

Ed Tech

Ed Tech | Monday, August 19, 2013

Get it right from the start of school

Get it right from the start -- your #EdTech ME in THREE

Starting the school year off right takes some vision and big-picture planning.

I attended a slew of educational technology conferences this summer. So, needless to say, I have a long list of exciting new ideas to try this year.

My school implementing Google Apps for Education.

I’ve learned about Socrative, Aurasma, KidBlog, Mentimeter, Subtext and a ton of other new digital tools.

I’m ready to kick it into gear. But to get the most out of these new ideas, I need to make sure I’m grounded in solid fundamentals.

That’s why I’m writing a concise mission statement about how I want to incorporate education and technology. I wrote in the past about how choosing a one-word mission statement can help keep teachers focused on the great gains they want to achieve.

In this case, concise means three sentences. No more. Keep it brief.

Here’s what I came up with:

Educational technology should be used to engage students and connect them to others throughout the world. It should be used only when it improves the education experience. When possible, students should create content that adds value to the web and connects them to unique viewpoints.

Then, I figured it would be great if anyone could come to Ditch That Textbook, craft their own edtech mission statement. It would be a repository of great technology plans for anyone to see.

Voilà. The #EdTech ME in THREE experiment.

Write your own three-line edtech mission statement. Post it to the #EdTech ME in THREE library. (There’s a form at the bottom of this page and a tab at the top of the site.)

It’s easy, quick and powerful. (For the record, I wrote mine in about five minutes.)

Here are some other views on education and technology, starting with John Spencer (, Twitter: @edrethink). His is a bit longer — I hadn’t decided on three lines when I contacted him — but you’ll find it’s worth the extra space.

I guess if I had to pinpoint my philosophy of educational technology, it would be this: Use technology with intentionality, wisdom and humility. To me, this means thinking critically about both the medium and the message (asking kids how to find reality when technology can so easily fabricate it, getting into questions about digital identity and the dark side of “branding,” etc.) 

It means understanding how technology works (I think kids should learn the basics of coding) and also understanding the way it reshapes humanity and our systems (political, economic, social and geographic). 

Even then, I think we need to do this with a heavy dose of humility. Even when we look at the pros and cons of technology, we are never able to use technology with all the benefits while avoiding all the drawbacks. Understanding that we can only vaguely predict the potential of new technology is a powerful thing for kids to grasp. Do we know the pros and cons of Google Glasses? Not yet. Nobody does. 
I hope that sums it up a bit. 

Amber Teamann (Twitter: @8Amber8) initially wrote hers in four words: “to support and enhance learning!” She elaborated:

Any lesson should be centered with strong instruction. Adding a technology component is great if it aligns with the standards and expectations of the lesson. However, as George Couros said, even going to 1:1 can just be handing $1000 pencils if it doesn’t begin and end with student mastery in mind. Technology for the sake of technology is a waste, 🙂 and there is such a thing as “bad” integration.

I asked two great Hoosier educators — Justin Vail and Joey Till, authors of the Education Shift blog — for their input, too.

I want technology to be a window to the world for my students.  Technology gives my students a platform to learn, create, and share with the world. The use of technology will create a relevant and engaging learning environment and pave the road to success in the 21st Century and beyond.

Are you developing ideas? Take a couple of minutes and create an #EdTech ME in THREE mission statement now and share it with the Ditch That Textbook audience. Then be sure to check back later to see what other educators have created.

Write your #EdTech ME in THREE!

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Check out other educators’ #EdTech ME in THREEs!

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