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Education Opinion

Ed-Tech Sentences: Students and Teachers as Subjects, Devices as Direct Objects

By Justin Reich — February 03, 2014 1 min read

The EdTechTeacher iPad Summit pre-conference is humming along today, and you can follow along with our learning in San Diego at #ettipad on Tagboard and Twitter.

In anticipation of our conference kick-off tomorrow, I have a suggestion about language. It is perhaps a bit gramatically nit-picky, but the way we talk influences the way we think.

Generally speaking, I suggest that when we construct sentences about education technology, we try to have humans--students and teachers--as the subjects of the sentence and devices, like iPads, as the direct objects.

iPads don’t foster creativity. iPads don’t organize student learning resources. iPads don’t connect classrooms. iPads are lumps of silicon and lithium.

Teachers can use iPads to shape learning environments that foster student creativity. Students can use iPads to curate their learning resources. Students and teachers can use iPads to create links with classrooms across the world.

At their best, educational technologies stretch the boundaries of what’s possible in a learning environment. But those stretched boundaries only matter if we start dancing on the new edges. They only matter if students and teachers choose to do things differently.

That distinction is important. Our language should reflect it.

A very warm welcome to everyone joining us for the iPad Summit. I look forward to two days of learning with you.

For regular updates, follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for my publications, C.V., and online portfolio, visit EdTechResearcher.

The opinions expressed in EdTech Researcher are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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