Tom Starkey's world of ed tech

10th July 2015 at 01:00

I'm just going to come out and say it (get your hankies ready, I know this is going to be hard for you to hear). This is my last ed tech column.

I know. Try to be brave. All is not lost though, because I'm not going far. I'm leaving full-time teaching for a little while to do supply, which gives me extra time to write a book (easy) and look after my kids (not so easy).

I will be replaced by Tombot 2.0. He has Bluetooth and a coffee dispenser, he doesn't make heinous spelling errors and he hands in his articles well before the deadline. (At least, that's what they say. To me, Tombot 2.0 looks suspiciously like a toaster with a printout of my face stuck on the side.)

Anyway, by way of adieu, I thought I'd do a quick plenary to explore some of the burning ed tech questions of the day. Well, perhaps not "burning", but the ones I think are interesting, at least.

Will technology replace teachers?

No. Be deeply suspicious of anyone even posing such a daft question - and then check your wallet. It's akin to asking if pens will replace teachers. Technology is a tool. People who attempt to diminish the role of the teacher are tools.

Kids know all about this technology stuff, don't they?

Do they heck. Away with your broad generalisations. Granted, there will be pupils who are well up on their skills, but most of the time this is the general rule: you get good at what you use. Mastering Facebook isn't the same as mastering the use of tech to enhance learning. If you want to use technology with students, get ready for the possibility that you'll be teaching them to use the tech along with what you want them to learn.

Why should I have to use [insert shiny thing here]?

You shouldn't. You're a professional, and if you're doing well without the bells and whistles that's great. It's just that there may be something out there that could make your life easier. Have a quick look - you might find something brilliant.

Will there ever be a game as good as Micro Machines on PlayStation 1?

No, there won't. You need to let go.

So there we have it. Short and sweet. Hopefully I've steered some of you right, and I'll still be popping up in the magazine from time to time, so keep an eye out.

Until then I'll leave you in the metallic hands of Tombot 2.0. He's a good lad really, and brilliant if you want a hot crumpet.


Tom Starkey is a teacher in Leeds. The ed tech column will return in September, not with Tombot 2.0 but with new columnist Claire Lotriet (find her on Twitter at @OhLottie). Claire is a Google-certified teacher and she will be writing about all things ed tech fortnightly

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