The right tool for the job

From Seth Godin’s blog, he wrote about the right tool for the job.

As a learning technologist or learning designer, this is a phrase and attitude I take seriously – nothing winds me up more than something new or different being touted as the ‘new’ solution to education, student experience, or some other aspect of teaching and learning, that’s not been properly thought through and applied to a known issue.

Note – I hold my hands up that, in the past, I have been guilty of doing just this. I do understand how this happens, an idea on how to use something new needs investigation and testing, but obviously there is a need to perform some proper due diligence on this. But (I hope) I’ve never tried to force the solution on something that actually didn’t need soving.

“Invest once, benefit for a very long time.” – Seth Godin

I’ve always said we should ensure a considered and appropriate use of technology, the emphasis being on ‘considered’ and ‘appropriate’. Just because you can use a new tool doesn’t mean you should. Just because everyone is starting to use the shiny new thing doesn’t mean you have to, even if you feel the pressure to do so to keep up with development elsewhere.

It is never appropriate to fit the shape of pedagogic need into the different shape of the technology capability. It should always be pedagogy first, what is the need that needs fulfiling. From here you can then gauge whether the tool, in whatever shape you can configure it, can fulfil the need – never the other way round. Never try and force the teaching and learning to fit the tool.

Let’s also remember that it’s not about the use of a single tool or system, many can be used together (properly aligned to the learning need) to benefit the student and the student experience. Looking at these things in isolation will result in a disjointed and fractured experience. Look to the goal and how these things can be slotted together, your students will thank you for it.

Photo by Natalino D’Amato on Unsplash