Technology Will Not Replace You…Unless You Let It

Technology Will Not Replace You…Unless You Let It

Learn. Share. Repeat.

Stop it.
Just stop it right now.
Online learning is not going to take your job.
Technology will not replace teachers.

I wish this wasn’t the case, but every time I hear a teacher (or even worse, administrator) flirt with the idea that technology is going to replace educators my blood boils. From the pit of my stomach up to my eye-balls I feel a fiery anger because it simply is not true.

We aren’t trying to create robots who regurgitate information

I get to work with some of the most fabulous educators and educational technology leaders. I can confidently say that not a single one of them is for destroying all brick and mortar school buildings and sitting kids in front of devices all day long. We work, tirelessly, to ensure that the experiences students have with and without technology are meaningful and relevant. We want to use the best of…

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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Uncategorized


Teaching Computational Thinking across an Entire University, With Guest Blogger Roland Tormey

Computing Education Research Blog

During Spring Break, Barbara and I were invited to go to Switzerland.  Sure, when most people go someplace warm for Spring Break, let’s head to the mountains!

Roland Tormey organized a fascinating workshop at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland (see workshop page here) to inform a bold and innovative new effort at EPFL. They want to integrate computational thinking across their entire university, from required courses for freshman, to support for graduate students doing Computational X (where X is everything that EPFL does).  The initiative has the highest level of administrative support, with the President and Vice-President of Education for EPFL speaking at the workshop.  The faculty really bought in — the room held 80-some folks, and it was packed most of the day.

Roland got a good videographer who captured both of the keynotes well.  I had the first keynote on “Improving Computing Education with Learning Sciences: Methods for…

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Posted by on April 22, 2018 in Uncategorized


Cartoons on Teaching English

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

For this month I have turned to cartoonists who draw on their experiences in English, reading, and language arts lessons. Enjoy!













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Posted by on April 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


Technology vs Pedagogy – a false dichotomy!

The debate around technology and pedagogy is often framed as one of mutual, and inevitable progress. Adopt new technologies, the refrain goes, and you will see a turn from teacher-centred to learner-centred pedagogies! From Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow to the various United Nations frameworks and the popular SAMR model, the aim of introducing technology in the classroom is said to be to drag teaching towards Constructivist learning practices. This approach has a number of problems. Chief among these is that it assumes that teachers are the problem. Add technology to the mix and it will loosen the hold teachers have on the classroom and unlock learning, which is somehow being impeded by teaching. Teachers are blamed for either being slow to adopt technology in the classroom, or of doing it wrongly!

But is teaching really the problem? There is no logical contradiction between teaching and learning. It is a false dichotomy. Yes, many teachers do talk too much, and there is plenty of bad teaching going on. But a belief in Constructivist learning theories does not remove the need for teaching, even for instruction. I would argue that an effective classroom involves good teaching and good learning. Constructivism describes how students learn, but how teachers teach is logically distinct. Put another way, just because I learn by constructing knowledge in my mind does not mean that the most efficient way I receive the information may not be a lecture or a book which tells me things. What good teachers tend to do is strike the balance so that they are able to scaffold learning efficiently and deliver content when it is needed.

So a much better question is not really about how technology should side-line teachers or move from teacher to learner centred approaches, but how teachers can use technology to more effectively scaffold learning and improve instruction when that is necessary.

Framing the problem in this way may seem purely playing semantics, but by removing the stigma attached to teaching, I believe it is a necessary nuance which needs spelling out. Anyone who has ever taught with computers will know that the machine becomes a very real presence in the room which does push the teacher to the side. Student gaze is directed at the screen. The teacher becomes a support intervention. And yet this does not mean an automatic strengthening of learning. Machines may be very poor teachers and provide little or no opportunities for Constructivist learning. When the assumption is made that the introduction of computers in education will automatically lead to more active learning, what is really meant is that teachers will be side-lined and it is assumed that this will lead to more effective learning. This view is facile. The aim is noble, but there is little evidence that this is what actually happens.

We need to be very clear that an effective classroom is one in which effective meaning making activities are going on. Knowledge is being constructed and deconstructed in meaningful ways. The pedagogy being deployed is not important. Neither is the technology. The purpose of pedagogy and technology is to effectively support meaning making. Whether or not pedagogies and technologies achieve this depends on how they are deployed and to what purpose. If the aim is to deliver content efficiently, a lecture can be the most effective choice. If the aim is to get students to explore their reactions to some text a lecture would be a disastrous choice. Teachers know this, and are very eclectic. Teachers, good ones anyway, are seldom wedded to any particular pedagogy, but take a pick and mix approach depending on what they are trying to do.

The issue is thus not one of pedagogy vs technology and which one trumps the other, but how educational technologies and pedagogies support learning in the classroom. Teachers are darn right to be suspicious of new technologies, and right to be cautious! They are also right to reject the notion that only one set of pedagogies are correct! What is actually important is the learning, and how best to teach to support that learning.





Google has basically transformed the modern world we live in today in terms of the internet, communication and collaboration. Yes, I too am a Google fanboy. What’s not to love? They’re providing services that are second to none, and everything they touch makes my life better.

Anyway fanboying aside, they’ve made huge strides in education. Not only have they invested billions into the Edtech, but they’ve even dethroned the likes of Microsoft and Apple. Here are some of the reasons why:


Google Classroom is without a doubt a one of the Google essentials in educating. It allows one to organise their classes, post announcements, assignments, questions and even reuse posts if you teach the same thing to different classes! This program allows you to stay at the top of your game because it makes it so easy to distribute resources to the class. Google_Classroom_LogoIt’s also a great way to…

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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in Uncategorized




Booksnaps can be a fun way for students to share their thoughts about books or texts.

Students can  create a booksnap by taking a photo of the text that they are reading, and then adding their own thoughts, drawings and comments to the image. They can underline text, circle text, and add emojis and other doodles to the image to illustrate their thoughts and questions about the text.

Educator Tara Martin, who created the idea of book snaps, had her students use Snapchat to create their book snaps, but you can use other tools as well. (get it?  booksnap = book + snap). For example, PicCollage Kids is a safe, kid-friendly photo editor that can be downloaded for $1.99, and Google Draw is another good choice.

Booksnaps are meant to be shared among classmates to facilitate discussion, and students should be aware when creating them that they will be…

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Posted by on April 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


Standardized Tests Every Day: the Competency Based Education Scam


rocketship-charter-schoolsIN THE NOT TOO DISTANT FUTURE:

Welcome to class, children.

Please put your hands down, and sit at your assigned seat in the computer lab.

Yes, your cubicle partitions should be firmly in place. You will be penalized if your eyes wander into your neighbors testing… I mean learning area.

Now log on to your Pearson Competency Based Education (CBE) platform.

Johnny, are you reading a book? Put that away!

Are we all logged on? Good.

Now complete your latest learning module. Some of you are on module three, others on module ten. Yes, Dara, I know you’re still on module one. You’ll all be happy to know each module is fully aligned with Common Core State Standards. In fact, each module is named after a specific standard. Once you’ve mastered say Module One “Citing Textual Evidence to Determine Analysis” you will move on to the next module…

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Posted by on April 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

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