Pedagogy Before Technology


Ross Cooper has some really interesting insights on learning over at his blog.  In his last post, he talks about the phenomenon of “Pokemon Go”, and how educators seem to be clamouring to embed into their classrooms this fall.

Yes! Pokémon Go will definitely engage our students, but so will any other fancy, new technology. While technology has its place, we first and foremost want to make sure we’re prioritizing effective pedagogy and not simply masking bad practice with a dog and pony show. Also, when talking about student engagement as a result of technology, it can be compared to one of the main reasons why punishment should not be used as a classroom management tool. In both of these instances, the intended effects will eventually wear off once the students grow accustomed to what is going on around them (Vargas, 2009).

Any educator can put Pokémon Go in front of students, make a half-hearted attempt at a curricular connection, and cry “Engagement!” Meanwhile, great educators will be able to leverage the app to promote a deeper understanding of content, which most likely could not have been possible had the app not been brought into the equation.

Although he does not directly state it, the mantra that you will hear often is “pedagogy before technology, not the other way around”.  I feel though that in a world where constantly new technologies are so prevalent, simply adopting an “either/or” ideology could be limiting.

Here is part of the comment I wrote to Ross:

One thought…We say things like “pedagogy before technology”, but I think it is too much of a blanket statement. Sometimes the technology drives the pedagogy.

Some questions to think about with Pokemon Go…What makes it appealing to so many? What are some things that I would like to create that have been inspired by this product? Is this something that is going to be a fad, or the next evolution.

When I google the definition of “pedagogy”, here is what I get:

“the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.”

Is there a problem with this since “learning” is nowhere in the definition? Do we start with what we think is important (or is deemed important by others), or with the learning?

Just some quick thoughts that were inspired by a really great post from Ross.

Source: George Couros