We have all taken it, taught it, criticized it, and pondered its effectiveness. We teach students a bunch of “tools”, gadgets, software, and/or hardware or a combination thereof. Currently the Microsoft Office Suite is the chosen product to teach in many EdTech 101 courses, maybe with a little Inspiration, Kid Pix, and Dreamweaver thrown in for “good measure” or “just in case a student wants to get into it.”
However, many feel that teaching all these tools doesn’t translate into these preservice teachers integrating technology. Most feel that our preservice teachers use these tools to do their “teacher stuff” but don’t let the students use it or learn with or from the technology. Basically, preservice teachers leave the EdTech 101 course with a set of skills and knowledge that is disconnected from and separate from any instructional design and technology integration theory.
We teach tools because there is always something new that comes out. Decades ago it was slide and filmstrip projectors, then televisions, video cassette recorders, computer based instruction, software tools, the Internet, DVDs, digital cameras, digital microscopes, scanners…. What’s next? Palm Pilots, iPods, and other handheld devices (some of you may already be using these)? Flash? TiVo? Final Cut? Adobe Atmosphere? Virtual reality? The evolution and progression of new technology seems to invade the EdTech 101 course so we can “keep our students up to date” or “prepare them for the [insert next century or decade here]’s” claims. The way many EdTech 101 courses are structured and the content is taught perpetuates the cycle of non-integration because we teach tools, but not integration. We show students how to use the technology tools, but don’t show them or teach them how to get the students to use them or why they should.
How can we break this cycle? Do we even want to? What would an EdTech 101 course look like if we could change it? Would preservice teachers benefit from the changes?