Myths and Maddness on both sides

It is the framework which changes with each new technology and not just the picture within the frame.
– Marshall McCluhan

I’ve been following and digesting the fine comments on Scott Thornbury’s A-Z of ELT, about using technology to teach languages. As I’ve been reading and re-reading, I can’t escape the conclusion that many teachers just “don’t get it”. And I don’t just mean the usual teachers of the anti-tech variety. I also mean those using technology in their classrooms. There is a very clear misunderstanding in my opinion and based on research — about the role technology should play in learning (and I’ve intentionally avoided the usual, “in teaching”).

There is a misconception about what exactly IS technology. And without this in place – not a lot of good will happen. Also, its place in learning. Both sides seem to view this complex subject through their own colored glasses. We owe our students better. It isn’t like Skinner and a new utopia. Nor is it anti-human and mere entertainment.

It isn’t just about good teaching practices. It isn’t just about this method vs that. It is mostly about our own relationship and mind set towards technology. Technology should be used well, be used as the breath it is – invisible and in the background, everywhere. It is about understanding the research and conclusions drawn about what works and doesn’t. It is about not drawing lines but about individual situations.

So, I’m going to post my own thoughts using McCluhan as a backdrop. In hopes to really get others thinking as the box – not outside nor inside but AS the box. Also, I’ve been taking notes and hope to record a nice video outlining why I do think using “new” technologies is a great way forward but not the “one” way.

In the meantime, I’ve been revisiting Ira Socol – a great thinker on this subject who’ve I’ve followed a long time. You can’t go wrong dipping into his musings. We’ve come a long way since Skinner and need not think of technology in such a facile manner… a long way baby.


If you liked this, you might like – The Alive and the Online or Using Technology the Right Way


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Teacher trainer, technology specialist, educational thinker...creator of EFL Classroom 2.0, a social networking site for thousands of EFL / ESL teachers and students around the world.

2 Responses

  1. Ann says:

    Just posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check for comments.

    Please feel free to post there when you have anything you’d like to share.



  2. ddeubel says:


    Thanks again. I do hope you’ll take a look at and also share on the BC facebook – my latest endeavor Speech Recognition technology helping students speak videos and learn. We’d also be interested in former partnerships to use our technology – with groups like the British Council.



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