Technology is not a pencil

I am hoping to blog a lot while at ACPE the next two days. I thought I would start with an idea that has been nagging at me for a few weeks. I often hear school leaders explain that technology is like “a pencil.” I think they mean that technology should be incredibly simple and easily accomplish the job it is designed for. Pencils intimidate few. We don’t think too often about the pencil itself. Is it sharp? Eraser intact? Okay, let’s write.

Reducing technology to a pencil overlooks the manner in which it connects people to content and each other. The resultant learning environment is the focus, and it’s not a pencil. It is a complex, interwoven fabric through which students and teachers move to find, analyze, create, and share. The pencil (or whiteboard) metaphor discourages people from exploring the unique types of learning environments that one may create with technology.

Yes, we deserve technology systems that are easy to use, but we also deserve richness and power from these educational tools.

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