Is the medium still the message?

As I grapple with how to integrate technology into my learning plans, in ways that are both instructional and inspiring for my students, I wonder if we have finally surpassed the idea that the medium is the message? Is it possible for the medium to eventually be simply a complacent tool for delivering our messages? Or does our choice of tool for delivering our message truly alter the recipients understanding and response to that message? I think maybe Marshall McLuhan was on to something…

If so, than it is imperative that we prepare our learners to choose their methods of expression with cognizance and clarity of intention, combined with an in depth understanding of their own purpose for communicating in the first place.

Navigating the integration of technology in our education planning and practice, is unavoidable and also very important, if we want to prepare our students for success in the 21st century. In order to achieve this, in a manner that is seamless and successful, educators need to become not only tech savvy, but also develop an awareness of how each tool of technology that we use, needs to be regarded as such: a tool. We need to endeavor to teach the critical thinking necessary for our learners to be able to discern the message as well as to comprehend the implication on that message based on the tool used to deliver it. As Andrew Church puts it in his document outlining Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, “it’s not about the tools, it’s using the tools to facilitate learning”, or as Professor Gavel pointed out in her Voki, “we always want to make sure we are not starting with a cool activity or a great piece of technology- we want to start with: what is it we want the students to learn, and how will we know when they have learned it.” The T.I.M. (Technology Integration Matrix), is a valuable resource that contains instructions for teachers on how to effectively integrate technologies into our practice and pedagogy, and also contains straight forward, real world examples of lesson plans for doing the same.

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