|Image courtesy eurleif CC-BY-SA 2.0|
I mention it for credit where credit is due, because the following brilliance is not mine, but Tom's.
In a post from last summer, Tom shared the following great ideas for deciding whether an educational technology is worth adopting. (The original piece is definitely worth reading as well!) Here's the 7 Smart Rules for Educational Technology:
- Educational problem first. Start with the problem, not the technology.
- Added value. Make sure that the technology will add value to other existing solutions.
- Sustainability. Will the project be relevant and accessible with the passage of time, or will external factors or lack of relevance eventually lead those involved to abandon it?
- Multiple uses. Select a technology and design an intervention so that the technology can be used for multiple purposes/classes.
- Lowest cost. If a lower-cost technology is available to solve a particular problem, even though it might be less “politically sexy,” it should be used.
- Reliability. Ensure that the technology is reliable and will not rapidly break down.
- Ease of use. Excessively complicated technologies present barriers to implementation and the ultimate success of the intervention.
Smart thinking, right?
A few of my reflections on these:
- The first one here is the no-brainer to me, but I think it's often the most overlooked. I know I tend to get really excited about tech tools (oooo...shiny!) without fully thinking through the problems the tech might actually address. Number five goes right with number one; much as I love my iPad...perhaps we should consider lower cost tablets? (This Apple-fanboy is cringing to even say so...)
- Item number seven comes right behind: if it isn't easy, no one will use it but the über-geeky or über-stubborn. (Speaking as someone who falls into both of these categories...) Item number six corresponds: if you're always fighting with unreliable tools, how likely are you to use them?
- I'm all for number four: multiple uses is key! Alton Brown had a great bit on Good Eats where he decried uni-taskers in the kitchen. EdTech should be considered in a similar fashion--no uni-taskers allowed.
- Number three has me thinking. Sustainability is an issue. I'm wondering about things like SMARTBoards--have they had their day in the sun? Are they approaching irrelevance? I'm not entirely sure...but I'm thinking about this.
- I'm thinking a lot about the implications of the second item on this list. I agree in principle--of course there should be a value-add for any tech tool incorporated into a classroom. What I'm wondering about is if motivation is enough of a value-add to count in this regard. I'm inclined to think so...but that's just my best thinking right now.
So that sums up my thoughts at the moment. What do you think of this list? And how do you respond to the ideas presented here?