Tools versus Pedagogies

[This is written as a response to a class discussion based on the CoolCat Teacher’s blog post]

Wanting to read this 2015 OECD Report mentioned, I did a quick search and found “OECD Skills Outlook 2015” which I presume is the report in question. I read the summary of the report in English.

I was trying to locate the exact study cited and there is so much from the OECD….but in my travels I read, “in 2012, 96% of 15-year-old students in OECD countries reported having a computer at home, but only 72% reported using one at school. “

I think the point is, just having the computers and/or just sitting down at the computers to use without explicit instruction will not improve educational outcomes. The summary points out that a majority of students are leaving the educational systems of their countries without the necessary tools/skills/mindsets to contribute to their economies. The reports states this is, “the root of this unacceptable waste of human potential. “ (para 3)

I think it was Dewey who said the purpose of education is to prepare citizens to lead successful lives (Dewey, 1938, p.18). I believe he was emphasizing that education devoid of social change is not useful. Reforming educational pedagogies, not just tools, will bring about social change. It’s not the technology that makes a difference, but the “mind-set” of the one using the technology- the pedagogy.

One thing shines through as I read Vicki’s post and it is not the content at all. She models. She takes it personally if a student isn’t achieving the objectives. She believes it is her job. That is a mindset, a viewpoint that is not shared by most teachers.

It is our job to prepare these students, to teach them the skills, to ensure they possess the strategies, to begin the avalanche of social change. Oh here I go on the soapbox…someone knock me off!

A little story, during one of my courses, I had to a little project with how teachers viewed emerging versus obsolete technologies. I had difficulty getting interviews set up with one school and when I investigated I found out why. The teachers did not consider the overhead projectors (the ones you write on and they project on a screen) obsolete, as they had taken them back out of the storage closets to use daily in their lecture based classrooms. The district had purchased interactive whiteboards for each classroom. The teachers did not consider these to be emergent technologies, but just screens for their overheads. I still remember the IT director groaning, holding his head in his hands, and apologizing to me profusely. Like Vicki says, “Technology is here. It can make a massive difference if you HAVE the know-how to teach with it effectively.”


Davis, V.A. (2015, September,25).  Why technology in classrooms doesn’t always boost education results [Web log post]. Retrieved from URL of blog post

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

OECD (2015), OECD Skills Outlook 2015: Youth, Skills and Employability, OECD Publishing, Paris.