My parents were not followers of the “Children should be seen and not heard” philosophy but they did like to use the line to joke around from time to time sometimes joking that “Children should neither be seen nor heard” my parents were jokers and found it very funny given they worked hard to actively involve us as children.
I am starting to believe that Technology should neither be seen nor heard. At least not until you want to use it.
We are starting to see this with the audio interfaces such as the Amazon Echo and items such as the new Frame TV from Samsung. Both of these technologies are meant to fade into the background and not be seen or heard until you choose to interact with them.
I firmly believe that technology will continue to fade into the background in this way after all the best technologies are the ones that cease to be seen as “technology” and become invisible in our lives. I’m thinking of the many things we take for granted such as the ballpoint pen and how when the window air conditioner becomes central air it isn’t seen anymore.
I’m curious how these changes will change the way we design our homes and interact with technology over the next few years as more and more of our technology becomes “invisible”.
This concept of “invisible technology” is immediately applicable to the classroom though.
I firmly believe that your Ed Tech should be invisible tech. Meaning that if you are integrating technology effectively into the learning experience then your students should notice the learning experience and not the technology used. Not to say that the use of novelty can’t be effective at gaining student’s attention by using a “cool new toy” but far too often I see the “cool new toy” taking the spotlight and the learning experience being lost in the shuffle.
The tools chosen when designing instruction should be the best tools for the job, they should make the learning easier and remove obstacles they should not be distractions or worse be obstacles themselves.
Good instructional design comes from a solid focus on learning outcomes and keeping those outcomes firmly in mind as we align our assessments (ensuring students are learning what we are trying to teach), and as we align our instructional activities.
Pedagogy first, last, and only.
Focus on the learning objectives and use the technology that makes it easiest.
I believe the best instruction is the one where no one even notices the technology used even if the technology being used is innovative and creating an educational experience that would not be possible without the use of the technology because they are too busy focusing on the learning objectives.