#edtech and Teaching

Since computers arrived in schools, much of the professional development has been designed to show teachers how to use ICT and how to adopt that ICT into instruction (with the assumption that ICT would be a neutral aspect of the classroom).  As the emerging educational paradigm shift is completed, the focus of professional development to support teaching with technology will turn from adopting technology to teach to adapting instruction to technology and recognizing ICT as non-neutral. In The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, a book that emerged from the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Project, Davidson and Goldberg defined 10 pillars of institutional pedagogy (see table 8.1) that appear to contribute to learning that for unpredictable and rapidly changing future. In arguing that educators be adopt these pillars, Davidson and Goldberg (2010) observed,

Digital technologies increasingly enable and encourage social networking and interactive, collaborative engagements, including those implicating and impacting learning. And yet traditional learning institutions, whether K–12 or institutions of higher learning, continue to privilege individualized performance in assessments and reward structures. Born and matured out of a century and a half of institutional shaping, maturing, and hardening, these assessment and reward structures have become fixed in place. But they now serve also to weigh down and impede new learning possibilities (24).

Professional development that prepares educators to teach in the classrooms described by Davidson and Goldberg will focus on reinventing the curriculum and instruction more than fitting technology to the curriculum and instruction.

One focus of that professional development needs to be on understanding the nature of interaction that leads to effective learning. So often, we hear about the value of information technology in sharing information. This seems the least relevant, but most common interaction with information technology. If we start using different verbs to prompt interaction, it seems we are going to facilitate deeper engagement with the content and with each other. What if we were to have students…

  • Confirm– provide supporting evidence for others’ statements
  • Challenge– provide contradicting evidence for others’ statements
  • Extend– Reconsider others’ statements in different circumstances
  • Apply– Use others’ statements to analyze a real-world problem


Davidson, Cathy, and David Goldberg.  2010. The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.