Today’s view from the frontier

As always, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about learning and technology. I’ve been in the game for about 20 years now. So I’ve seen lots of Shiny New Things come…. and go. I’ve seen the fetishization of technologies by educators who were seduced by the hype and snake oil sold by companies wanting to make a quick buck.

It can be dangerous to stay in the edtech thought bubble and forward, repeat, and curate the same things that everyone is forwarding, repeating, and curating. That’s why I like to seek out deep thinkers like Seymour Papert or Alan Kay, or contrarians like Gary Stager. And I like to read widely in fields that I know little about, because it’s important to keep learning and challenging myself.

I know that there are teachers who are fatigued by the relentless push to use technology… somehow, anyhow. And I get the pushback that some of them make. But having said all that, I really believe that tech isn’t a fad, and it’s not all about the latest Shiny New Thing. There are possibilities in learning today that are mind-boggling. And we’d be foolish not to take advantage of them. The emphasis on design and engineering (what is currently called the Maker movement) is one of those opportunities to make deep and necessary change in education. Robotics is a fabulous “gateway drug” into STEM thinking and doing. Learning code can do the same thing for our brains that learning any language can do. All of these can be that “hard fun” that Seymour Papert talked about.

So let’s move that frontier a little farther forward.

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