Last night Twitter pointed me in the direction of a new Seth Godin post entitled “Bring me stuff that’s dead, please” in which he bemoans the the way ‘drive by technoratti‘ are obsessed with whatever the latest technology is. He makes the point that:
“Only when an innovation is dead can the real work begin.”
This applies to educational technology perhaps more than any other area. Many education technologists are focussed almost exclusively on the latest innovation. They often see it as being a panacea for lack of adoption as if this magic bullet will change the entire faculty’s mind about edtech without anybody having to do any messy staff development work.
In the past I’ve called them the ‘ooh shiny’ group or the ‘ooh look, a rabbit’ brigade to reflect their constantly shifting focus to whatever is new and shiny in educational technology but I prefer Godin’s ‘drive by technoratti’. One only has to look at the focus of most educational technology journals and conferences to see the work of the ‘edtechnoratti’. Now I’m not saying that this work shouldn’t be done or isn’t interesting in its own right but I do find it noticeable how little focus is given to the mainstreaming of educational technology innovations.
This is completely understandable. Mainstreaming edtech is hard. It involves cultural and organisational change. It involves working with, frequently recalcitrant, academics. When these are the options, who wouldn’t rather be playing with new edtech innovations?
Despite this, the mainstreaming of edtech is where the real value of edtech innovations is yet to be achieved so I have to agree with Godin and say bring me more dead edtech please.