Our Space | November 2013 Digital Edition

Technology Still Needs Good Educators Behind It

A year in ed tech has taught me that the greatest gadget is only as good as the people behind it.

This article originally appeared in T.H.E. Journal's November 2013 digital edition.

I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary at T.H.E. Journal, and I've learned an enormous amount in these 12 months. I've been dazzled by how much today's hardware and software can supercharge teaching and learning, but the thing that has impressed me the most about the world of educational technology is the people.

The educators I've met are truly passionate about their work. These are not people who clock in and clock out. (These are definitely not people who "take the summer off.") These are committed women and men who seek out professional learning opportunities after work hours, during weekends--whenever they can fit it into their crowded schedules. And they don't just give their time. As a recent study found, 99.5% of teachers spend their own money on supplies for their classes.

I've been lucky enough to meet these folks in person at conferences like FETC and ISTE and CoSN, but I've met most of them through the EdTech Innovators community, which I host with my colleagues from EdWeb.net. The community is a celebration of educators who have discovered creative ways to use technology to improve their teaching, whether the topic is science or phys ed. Each month we choose one educator to appear in T.H.E. Journal, to present a webinar to the group, and to appear with me and the irrepressible Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio. (You can check out this month's Innovator, Randy Mocygemba in our digital edition.)

At its best, EdTech Innovators works like ed tech should: The point is not the technology that facilitates it but the community that it builds. As we have seen with LAUSD's rocky iPad initiative, even the greatest gadget can't teach students--that requires people to choose the curriculum, manage the devices, and lead engaging classes.

I'm grateful to have met people who can do all of those things, and I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

About the Author

Christopher Piehler is the former editor-in-chief of THE Journal.