Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘questions for learning’

TECHnology, TEACHnology…or LEARNology? YOU Choose…

In Classroom Teaching, Teacher Training, Technology on 24/10/2011 at 11:27 am

Last weekend I did a bit of a “lazy” post mostly because I was rushing to get a keynote ready. The question I asked…was not really a question, at all!

…taking on the role of devil’s advocate (because I do LOVE me TECHnology…), what I really wanted to do was see how people might react to the idea that all these “bloody E’s” just get in the way of LEARNing.

A couple of people actually thought I was some kind of “luddite” or “technophobe” – ask my wife how much time I spend with my “toys”!

The problem is, of course, that the people who might have thought this take often take a specific perspective on the role of TECHnology in education – and some of them (especially those that “sell” hardware, software and webware) hold the view that you cannot be an “effective teacher” unless you bring all your “toys” into the classroom on a 24/7 basis.

This is just silly!


I have met hundreds of amazing teachers who do not use a great deal of TECHnology…I have also met a large number of teachers who do not create a great deal of LEARNing (or do much effective TEACHing) despite their “toys”. The TRUTH…

…it’s not about:


Or even…


In education it is, has been and always will be about…

And, perhaps…most importantly

It is (more TRUTH coming) matters of the HEAD, the HEART and the CARE that need to take centre-stage in allthingslearning for both STUDENTS and TEACHERS.


Placing TECHnology at the heart of our thinking, decision-making and TEACHing is a bit like “shopping”. Yeah, sure you can go out and collect all kinds of “products”:

But many of these “products” do not make a real difference to our lives – and some of them may actually be causing far more “harm” than we might be able to see:


I will, however, concede a number of points that companies use to “sell” their wares (even teachers have jumped on the bandwagon and many have begun to sell their “tech” on-line, too – nothing wrong with that, if these wares are LEARNing-orientated):







OK – that second point was one I made a few months agobut I actually overheard a “rep” saying this (in Turkish) to a bunch of teachers at a conference last month. Buggar!



The problem is that many of these notions are used to “scare” educators into buying more “toys” – or just play “catch-up” ) – seriously, if I hear one more “tech-junkie” say “you can’t afford to fall behind if you want to be a 21st Century teacher“, I’ll punch her on the nose!

OK – I probably wouldn’t…but I would “growl” very loudly:


More important, is the “question” (you know how I love my questions) that drives this type of (non)-thinking:

Rather than the “real” questions we should be thinking about – 24/7:




Howard Gardner talked about “what matters” a few years ago – when he was telling us what types of “minds” we need to be creating in our schools, colleges and universities (and what type of minds are required of us – as educators):

WHAT….no mention of TECHnology??? Bloody philosophical luddite….

OK…you want talk of “tech”?

Meris Stansbury has just completed a great survey on what it takes to be a 21st Century teachergotta be loads of TECHnology in her results:

A small “by-line” at the end – Meris, come on?

The thing is both Howard and Meris are so right – who is going to argue with Mr. Multiple-Intelligence himself or the “data” Meris has been gathering from teachers themselves?


Talking of “questions” like “What MATTERS?” – we all know it is not the “answers” we discover that make the difference in LEARNing and TEACHingIt is the quality of thinking that the “right” questions create that really “matters”!


Consider these TWO – which one hurts your “grey matter” more?

And, then – choose the one you want to spend more time on…


There’s been much talk over the years that there is a great deal of TEACHing that takes place – without much LEARNing! So, what happens when we do this type of TEACHing with the type of TECHnology that also does not make a great deal of difference to student LEARNing (but, I’m sure keeps the kids “smiling” – or “busy”)….


The BOTTOM LINE is that…

Effective teachers just “know” this…and their TEACHing reflects an understanding that it is their own LEARNing (and reflective “savvy”) that creates a culture of reflection, growth and real improvementwith or without the “toys”.

These teachers do not ask – what TECHnology should I use on Monday morning? Instead…they ask:

EVERY DAY…..well, at least “once” a week!


They know “what MATTERS” – and the TWO questions they always ask of their “toys” are:

If they are really, really lucky…they also work with schools, colleges and universities that provide the “space” and “resources” for the whole staff to do this…again and again!


Have a great week!