My Take

Maybe this is a little premature, but I need to share with you MY Philosophy of Educational Technology: (Artifact #2 ETEC 524)

Take One

I love words. Without a picture, a gifted writer can paint a scene in our mind that we will never forget. Great teachers inspire their students to see possibilities and believe that problems are only opportunities in disguise. What do words like education, technology, pedagogy and philosophy really mean to an educator and how will that affect one’s life and practice as an educator.

Before I could approach my personal philosophy of educational technology, I had to get a handle on my philosophy of life and apply that to education, technology and pedagogy. I know that one is never supposed to talk about religion or politics, but my life philosophy cannot be explained without a visit to the New Testament book of Romans. Romans 8:28 in the New American Standard Version states “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse does not state that all things are good. Lord knows, life is full of disappointments, mistakes, trials and tribulations, but all things will work together for good. On this promise I hang my life experience, confident that it will all work out in the end.

I approach education and pedagogy from the book of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Many people think that the, “way he should go” is something determined by the child’s mother, father or whoever is doing the teaching, but I would contend that the term “way he should go” is referring to the natural inclinations of the child. I believe that every parent and educator is responsible for being a student of their child, and the teacher of his students, to understand the natural inclinations of each learner. Every single human being has a unique pattern of DNA and learning preferences. The highly qualified educator has to be aware of all the theories of learning and development and create the environment that will foster learning for every student. Differentiation and an understanding of technology, pedagogy and content are required for every person that wants to be called a highly qualified educator.

I believe there is value in every theorist’s view of learning. There is not a single school of thought that is one hundred percent right, one hundred percent of the time. However, a highly qualified educator will know how to use B.F. Skinner’s Theory of Operant Conditioning when necessary, and to use scaffolding according to Lev Vygotsky, when it is necessary. All of the great writers in educational and cognitive learning theories have something of value to add to education, and to the repertoire of the educator.

Technology is much like the great thinkers in educational theory. There is a value in all technology, from a chalkboard to a smart board or anything else that someone dreams up in the future, but if or when used indiscriminately, technology affords no benefit to a student’s learning.

I think of learning theories and technology like the great toolbox of a master carpenter. Inside the toolbox are many useful tools, in the hands of the master. A hammer in the hands of a small child can do quite a bit of damage! Even in the hands of a skilled carpenter, if used incorrectly, a hammer can create more damage than quality construction. The skilled master educator is responsible for becoming expert at using all of the tools of his trade to the maximum benefit of the student. Technology is not the answer to every learning problem, just as the hammer is not the only tool in the master carpenter’s toolbox. Not every problem is a nail. The master teacher needs to be educated, skilled and trained to use all of the tools in the toolbox. When the highly qualified educator becomes a student of the student he will know what tool to pull from the toolbox to foster learning according to the needs of the learner.

My personal philosophy of educational technology is that the highly qualified and skilled educator needs to be knowledgeable in the content areas of the courses they teach, and trained in the pedagogy, history and theory of the art and science of teaching. They must also be functionally aware of the technology available to foster differentiation, inspiration, and curiosity to every learner in their classroom.