I was monitoring the tweets lately for a conference I am presenting at, and one person said they will never do a "60 apps in 60 min presentation" , or something to that effect. I have also heard many times it's not about the tool, but it's about the pedagogy. This has gotten me thinking lately, and from my perspective it has to be somewhere down the middle.
First, when you talk about devices in the classroom, I am not debating the fact that teachers have to teach in new ways with them. I am also not debating the fact that teachers need to learn about these new ways of teaching first. What I am saying is that pedagogy can be a deep dark black whole just as much as tools can. We all remember the college class we took that was deep in educational theory and pedagogy, but was little in actual things we could use in the classroom. I don't think any teacher is asking, "What would Marzanno do as they go about there day?" Pedagogy can not be used as something to beat teachers over the head with. By doing constant PD over new Pedagogy, and by constantly pushing new practices we build resentment with our teachers. We can't over initiative or over pedagogy our teachers.
I think people approach tools wrong. Is it right for teachers to be "Appaholics" and constantly be changing what they do and adding tools to their classroom? For sure it is. Are there teachers that become to obsessed with the app or tool and lose track of what really matters? For sure, but learning about tools is not all bad. First, tools are plain and simple more exciting than learning about pedagogy. It all goes back to our nature where we need a hook. I also go back to why I present "60 apps in 60 minutes" type of presentations. To me those presentations are all about creating a spark. To me, I used sessions like this to get an idea or a spark, and then I went and played with it till it fit me. The last thing that leads me down the tools are important path is, "How can I change the way I teach, if I have no resources to do it?" To me, the biggest things that hold teachers back is not knowing whats out there. If they don't know, they stay with the old fashioned.
Really, this goes all the way back to the need to personalize. We as coaches and developers need to offer both and in some ways need to toe the line between both. Some teachers need pedagogy, while others need that app of tool to spark that great idea. I think back to something like Plickers. I was never a data person because frankly having the time to analyze always became really tough. When I learned about the Plickers app, I immediately started to use it in my classroom. It truly improved my practice because it gave me easy immediate data to analyze. Really, I think we miss the boat on the debate. It's not about the pedagogy or the tool, it's about sparking the idea.