Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Spectrum Between Consumerism and Design

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend some free professional development about iPads and their use in schools. As I'm always willing to learn new things and meet new people, it seemed like a great opportunity. The day began with great anticipation-- until I saw the session titles.

Each session was simply a review of educational apps or management systems. Instead of designing instruction that meets important goals and then determining where the iPad fits in, folks were letting the available apps/content drive the process. Instead of seeing themselves as designers of instruction, most people viewed themselves as consumers of what already exists.

After some reflection, I believe that my experience was a microcosm of a larger problem. Teachers see themselves as consumers, putting lawmakers, publishers, and administration in control. However, teacher are designers. Teachers hold an incredible amount of decision-making power. According to Marzano's work, teachers are the number one school-level factor relative to student achievement.

So, stop choosing off the shelf. Design-- with your end users in mind.

CC Photo Credit: Color Coded Bookshelf by Juhansonin


  1. Hi Kristen,

    Consumerism is a huge problem, I agree. Technology has already solved many problems, but teaching solutions have to be customized to your course, but also to your cohort of students.


  2. Ahh, yes. Technology is certainly a design tension in our learning environments. We need to ensure they are tools to enable learning, not tools for their own sake. Thanks for the comment!



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