A post-IT post before I leave Newark.
During my panel presentation at #WCET16 this AM, I heard some colleagues slip into tech-first talk, despite the fact I had been espousing a pedagogy-first perspective (and they had been nodding vigorously) for almost an hour. To make matters worse, some of them would start sentences with pedagogy and end with tech; the tools-first paradigm is THAT ingrained in these people. So, in my final moments, I pulled out my VCU example:
Desire to facilitate Connected Learning –> let’s try blogging and tweeting to promote connected learning –> let’s assess for connected learning. EVERYTHING, is done and considered in the context of the pedagogy, connected learning. I defined the terms, of course. I offered an example of a specific course (Collaborative Curiosity – you know it :)). Administrators around the room were nodding and smiling…it really is a great course design. So intentional. People were drawn in by the course but some of them actually got my point: Connected Learning first, blogging/tweeting second.
Then a vendor in the room stood up and asked me if we had ever considered using his product (some sort of gated discussion forum…whatever) to promote student safety, security, and FERPA in Collaborative Curiosity.
I just kinda looked at him for a second and said “No. I explained our pedagogical approach. We needed a public forum to promote dialogue beyond the classroom. The walled garden might be fine for some pedagogical goals, but it was not consistent with our agenda, and it would have been a horrible pedagogical choice.”
Then I firmly shut down his FERPA talk and my friend the moderator shut me down before I really got going on the vendor. It was probably for the best.
There were some smart people in that room. I’m really hoping that exchange drove home my point. Pedagogy first. Tools second. Otherwise you do stupid shit like letting tech get in the way of your pedagogy because a vendor told you to.