Often we can make the assumption that technologists are trying to tell us how to go about the business of schooling with little understanding of learning and teaching.
Today I caught up with Tom Mills, Google’s Global Director Enterprise Education in San Francisco who made the following points:
1. Google is in the business of technology not teaching – they don’t want to get involved in the work of teaching, rather they want to provide a range of enabling tools that are useful to teachers to go about their work
2. The tools aren’t education specific – Google want to develop tools that have a variety of business and real world applications; they aim to make them accessible to allow for a broad range of uses
3. You have to sweat to achieve equity – you can’t just wake up and become the next Mark Zuckerberg in the digital stakes; unless you become literate in the tools you won’t know how to make them work for you; you need to put in the work to get the best results
4. Curiosity is king – the tools are just the tip of the iceberg; teachers need to unlock the potential of the technology and enable learners to do the same; curiosity is part of the fundamental 21st century skillset for today’s learner
It was great to hear this from a leading global expert in technology. For us it reinforces what we already know: as educators we can’t use technology in isolation or as a 21st century substitute for teaching.
The business of learning and teaching is not Google’s; it’s ours. We need to put in the hard yards to unlock the potential of current and emerging technologies to better serve our work as teachers and our students.