Thursday, November 11, 2010


In thinking more about the ECAR study noted below, I'm wondering if we (anyone who vets, selects, or implements instructional technologies) should be weary of the ways in which the study could likely be taken up. In particular, the study could imply that because students are increasingly tech-savvy, we should rush to incorporate a bevy of new communication and networking technologies into our instructional spaces.

I think it's important that we not get caught up in the "technology is ubiquitous" line of thinking. I understand how the prevalence of "personal" technologies can remove certain constraints to adopting new instructional technologies. However, I worry about blurring the lines among different types of technologies in the interest of making broad claims about student preparedness to use instructional technologies -- or to co-opt communication and social networking technologies for instructional purposes.

Students are growing increasingly comfortable with technology-mediated interaction. I get that. But it doesn't mean that they're prepared to use those technologies in instructional spaces. Manipulating technology to learn is a different activity (and requires different skill sets) than manipulating technology to socialize and communicate.

I realize I'm making broad generalizations here, but I've seen how these studies have led to knee-jerk reactions in the past.

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