Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Technologies vs. New Behaviors

I spend most days developing and facilitating professional development workshops focused on this device, that application, or a combination of something else. I develop projects that incorporate latest trends; I devise ways to implement and integrate applications into various classroom environments. I facilitate a multitude of workshops with a multitude of teachers in a multitude of districts. Such is the life of a Technology Integration Specialist.

And then I came across a recent blog entry by Dr. Scott McLeod on his site in which he shared the following quote:

Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies - it happens when society adopts new behaviors.  - Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody, p. 160

Like myself, Dr. Scott McLeod, visits a number of schools. And he noted that "many schools that have new technologies, but not enough of them also have new behaviors.

And with those words the preverbal light bulb went off as these words rang so true to my own experiences.

We tend to focus on the technology. We tend to gear our instruction towards this application or that process without looking at the grander scale of the program. We want to integrate technology into the classroom without focusing on the classroom. We want to explore new ideas without addressing old ideas. We want to change the face of education, but we don't want to change how we teach.

Technology is part of the solution; it is not the sole solution. Rather than micromanaging the implementation of this or that, we need to think globally. What behaviors do we want our teachers to model in the classroom? What applications can we integrate to support that model? How would you structure your classroom - your building - your district to meet the demands of 21st century learning? What applications, programs, tools, training, resources do we need to make this dream a reality?

The success of new technology lays within the adaptation of new behaviors. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of it's parts. We must address education as a whole if we are to succeed in the classroom. We must focus on the how if we expect to see success with the what.


  1. Thanks for extending my post over here. You've got some great questions here - ones that need to be answered by EVERY school system. Good luck making these conversations happen and let me know how I can be of support!

    1. Thank you! Your post definitely changed my perspective a bit and adjusted my focus on technology integration to a degree. In addition to focusing on the tools, I am now making it a point to discuss desired behaviors and goals with the faculty and administrations in my districts.