Edtech, Pedagogy, Boundaries of Competence

Image from Wesley Fryer
Image from Wesley Fryer

When educators talk about all of the great ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, and when companies effectively advertise their products, it is easy to make education about the technology and not the pedagogy, curriculum, or student. However, it is not wise to merely start with the technology, but with the learning goals, and needs of the students.

We want to consider the following question: How can we use our knowledge and edtech tools to foster higher order thinking skills and understanding, & also enable students to become effective digial citizens?

Student Success as defined by Ministry’s of Education is about meeting the interests, needs, and strengths of all students and engaging them in learning. However, I believe that this definition needs to be further tweaked to encompass the concept of students having attained equity and justice, such as with our FNMIstudents. We can promote our students interests, needs, strengths, and promote equity and justice for Aboriginal students with the effective use of technological tools.

However, as Educators, it is important to not fall into the trap of being ‘taken in’ by the latest and greatest fads, without knowledge and understanding of how to appropriately use with students. We simply have to engage in ongoing professional development surrounding the effective use of technology in the classroom.

Technology use is not about the newest apps, or newest tools. Nor do we need technology to be amazing educators. It is about how we can use technology to connect with others, and make meaningful connections to enhance learning and understanding. It is about helping our students become digital citizens and digitally literate.

Edtech makes many implicit promises to us, and continually send messages that they WILL help us to be successful in the classroom. However, the fact is that technology has the ability to distract us from our purposes as educators, and distract our students. Simply put, it is prudent to start with learning goals, and then decide and plan the tools to meet those goals. Learning goals stem from curriculum expectations and our own inquiries based on students and learning needs. Then we need to engage in the learning and connecting with others to gain our own knowledges into how we can effectively integrate technology into pedagogy and content knowledge bases.

One example of a broad inquiry includes how to use technology to infuse Indigenous cultural knowledge into the classroom; how can I best support FNMI population at large, in addition to including FNMI and non-FNMI students into classroom learning surrounding FNMI culture, history and heritage.

It is easy for us to get caught up in the ‘mechanics’ of the tools we use to promote learning. There are a lot of ‘should’s’ and ‘musts’ when it comes to incorporating the newest technological fads and ‘flavours’ of the month. However, we as educators are the most ethical and effective when we work within our own Boundaries of Competence.

Deborah McCallum

Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.






3 responses to “Edtech, Pedagogy, Boundaries of Competence”

  1. Edtech, Pedagogy, Boundaries of Competence | Big Ideas in Education Avatar

    […] Edtech, Pedagogy, Boundaries of Competence. […]


  2. Knowledge Building and Urban Legends in Education | Big Ideas in Education Avatar

    […] the reality is that our enthusiasm about the edtech and seeing what our students can do with it, is in fact causing us to overestimate many of the […]


  3. […] Yet another myth stems from the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities with edtech in the 21st century: learners are also self-educators.  This is an easy one to believe. With many exciting new opportunities to use edtech to innovate, engage students, give them a voice and help them engage in their own inquiries – they should be able to figure it out, right? Nope. Edtech, opportunities for innovation, increased engagement, inquiry – there will never be a magic bullet that diminishes the power of good pedagogy. […]


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