A Tool it just a Tool

A Tool it just a Tool

I have been following a few conversations recently that have focused on the negative aspects of technology and it disturbs me.  The belief is that technology causes people to be withdrawn, anti-social and isolated.  That technology gives people the freedom to bully, lash out, and lie therefore more of that behavior occurs. This is glass half empty thinking.

Technology can be enriching, allowing communication and collaboration where it was not possible before. It can  be perceived as isolating when we a glued to our tools and oblivious to our physical surroundings.  It is more a function of the user and not the tools that creates the environment of collaboration or isolation. The tool is a just a tool, it is the user who give it meaning and purpose.  A hammer and chisel in my hands is a destructive combination but in the hands of an artist they can bring about great beauty. It is important that teachers, and schools model and promote the enriching, collaborative and creative use of technology, and not the destructive element.

12 thoughts on “A Tool it just a Tool

  1. Hello Beth,

    My students love using the computers in the classroom. When students are using technology as a tool , they are in an active role learning new information. Technology in the classroom can increase the students motivation and self-esteem. When my students come to class, the first thing they ask me is can they get on the computer. My school district have different reading and math programs to help the students with their academic skills.

    The computer is an empowering tool to all students and it is also valued within our culture.


  2. I love your statement ” The tool is a just a tool, it is the user who give it meaning and purpose. A hammer and chisel in my hands is a destructive combination but in the hands of an artist they can bring about great beauty. It is important that teachers, and schools model and promote the enriching, collaborative and creative use of technology, and not the destructive element statement.”

    I am working on ways to implement more use of technology in the classroom with my students. They absolutely love using the computers and look for any reason to get on the computers and “research” something. However, it is my responsibility to create enriching activities and uses for the students to use the computer to meet the standards and prepare for their futures at the same time.

  3. Hi Beth,

    I really believe that technology scares some people. They are going to believe what they want to believe, but no amount of screaming at the top of their lungs that “computers will lead to our destruction” is going to stop the integration of technology into our classrooms. Our students have learned to use electronic and social networking tools to gain access to and share information. Sitting on our laurels in the middle of our comfy spot of ‘leaving things just the way they have always been’ isn’t going to curb the use of these tools. The students will force change if we don’t accept it first and move toward finding the tools that exist and putting them in the hands of our teachers and students.

  4. Dianna,

    Brad Ovenell-Carter categorizes tech tools into 5 categories; Research, Produce, Publish, Discuss and Manage. You mentioned your students love to research I am sure as you introduce more tools into your classroom they will be come producers, sharing and discussing content.

  5. Mary Bellah,

    As you stated some people fear technology. This fear causes them to resist learning and vocalize that they will not need to learn it. It reminds me of how some of my middle school students thought about math. Often when working with teachers I need to remind myself we are all students, we are all learners. The challenge, as with our students, is how to help our colleagues over come this fear and learn new skills.

  6. Beth,
    I think you make a really great point about remembering to help colleagues. For people who use technology daily it can seem natural to use it in the classroom. For others not as much.

  7. Hi Beth,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. That is where the professional development plays the part of pulling the resistant teacher to a place of acceptance, instead of resistance, knowing he or she is going to have to work at embracing the changes because the changes are going to come with or without them.

  8. Hi Beth:
    I think the invasion of ICT will be instrumental in reforming education in different ways. To begin with, ICT will expose the educators to resourceful information that will alter the content of curriculums. Teachers are likely to improve their performance and overall output because they would use ICT to reach out to students with versatile abilities. Using ICT, teachers would be able to communicate better with students through e-mail as well as enhance creative and critical thinking skills that are essential for effective learning. In this regard, students would be allowed to use their creativity to search and use vital information rather than depend solely on lectures for this.

  9. Perhaps if more educators embraced technology and showed their students how to use other tools rather than simply using social networks, they might want to use technology for good things.

  10. Hi Beth,

    At my school I’ve spoken with a few colleagues who feel technology is overrated and gets in the way of student learning. Like you, I disagree with those sentiments. In my classroom, my students love using interactive programs on our computers to review and practice their skills. My students enjoy using http://www.starfall.com for reading and language arts activities and love checking out http://www.coolmath4kids.com to practice recently acquired math skills. I find it helps add that “fun” interactive element that would otherwise be missing from a classroom lacking technology.

  11. Hi Beth,
    After reading your article above, it really hit home with me. I was watching a show this past week which talked about the new stance that people have… the texting stance. The look that we are all familiar with, I am sure, with the head down at the phone and the world happening around you. I have to admit that I am part of this as well, and get drawn in to the new technology myself, but we need to educate each other on the uses these devices have for the good.

    I cannot agree with you more about your comparison of all of these new devices and technolgy being just tools. There are many that are scared of these items (I am at times), but that is just human nature to fear the unknown. If we, as educators, can teach ourselves how to use these “tools” for good in our classroom, then we will intrigue the students, teach them the appropriate ways to use these “tools” and help them to make changes for the good.

    I also agree with many of the other comments posted above. I feel that we need to take it upon ourselves to help educate our colleagues. There is too much technology for one person to learn on their own, if we team up and work together, then we can conquer more of the new “tools” that are available and keep up with the changing times around us.

  12. Hi Beth
    It is true that computers are here to stay, but we have to be cautious when seeking education on how to use these technologies. Using most reliable sources of course-work information is imperative.

    include sites operated by learning institutions and academic experts. Such sites can be essential in the building of an individual’s technological ability. Technological expertise ensures the country attains its goals and objectives. Genuine educational sites are essential, as they help individuals who are not able to access such information physically. Devoting your time to spread the word out on these genuine educational sites is an act worth appreciating. Your intention is excellent, as many individuals will benefit from this.

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