25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #19 Always use technology

Those responsible for ICT (educational technology) should beware of using technology too much: if they’re not careful, it can deter people from wanting to use it themselves.

That may seem counter-intuitive, but my point is this: I think we should always exemplify good use of technology, which means using it where appropriate. Sometimes, the most appropriate technology to use is pencil and paper, or even – shudder – your brain and memory.

Sometimes, you can have too much technology!That begs the question: what is “appropriate”. My wife always ribs me when we have to make an appointment for, say, a delivery. She looks in her paper diary and suggests three choices of date while I am still fiddling with my phone and scrolling through the on-screen calendar. At that particular time, there is no doubt that her paper diary is more appropriate than my electronic one: it’s quicker and easier. However, if she were to lose her diary it could be a problem; if I were to lose my phone, it would be an inconvenience – because my phone calendar is synchronised with my desktop and online calendars. So perhaps in the long run, my technology is more appropriate than hers because it’s more secure, and less hassle, because I don’t have to enter appointments manually into another calendar.

From this, I conclude that it’s the context in which technology is used that determines how appropriate it is. Which leads me on to another issue. Where a headteacher decrees, say, that all teachers must use an interactive whiteboard in every lesson, surely s/he is encouraging, at least some of the time, completely inappropriate use of technology? That’s an example of fanaticism of the sort where not only does someone engage in certain behaviour all the time, they expect everyone else to as well.

It’s good to use technology – but it’s even better to use it purposefully, not just because it’s there or you feel you have to.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out the others in this series.