#SXSWedu – “The Myth of the Magical Device”

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Carl Hooker
Eanes ISD – Dir of Innovation & Digital Learning


Michael Cohen
Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy – Dir, Educational Technology


Sabba Quidwai
Keck School of Medicine of USC – Dir of Innovative Learning


Session Details

Like the magic lamp, it is easy to believe that a device will automatically ignite a sense of excitement, engagement and exceptionally engaged learning. What happens when your three wishes run out? When the magical excitement of technology in the classroom wears off? Initially it may seem that technology makes your classroom awesome, focused, calm and organized, however ultimately it is not about the device but how we as educators transform the learning experiences in our classroom. The real magical force in your classroom is the experience that you create using technology to shift from talking about one another, to with one another, as independent, confident and successful learners.


  • Session focus: “A conversation of what meaningful learning looks like with technology.”
  • How can we drive change to help improve student success. How can we remix and amplify our work in collaborating to improve education?
  • The technology can’t be the focus… say the pencil, it’s a technology, but we don’t focus on it because we can rely on it!
  • Learning is social and requires sharing. Sharing knowledge, sharing the experience, sharing the learning.
  • The WHY is key – and the HOW will come with PURPOSE and a reason behind what we are doing with technology.
  • How much has really changed in the past 15 years in our classrooms? Oregon Trail, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Logo, etc.? The kids got on the computer once a week. What is going to change for our students that are in kindegarten now?

Children using the proposed Dynabook (based on Alan Kay drawing)alankay1968.png

  • Our technology is not just about consuming information aka the “eTextbook”.
  • Our kids have become masters of the “game of school” but have they really mastered the art of learning.
  • Assessment as a process of learning vs a “grade”.
  • SAMR Model – Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition.  The tendency is to get to “redefinition”, however, it’s ok to use substitution and augmentation with technology because it’s still a purposeful use. The learning is the emphasis.
  • “Is this going to be on the test” – Then the students only care about the grade. This isn’t the reason why they are in the class, it’s about the learning.
  • How do we encourage risk taking and failure.

We need to be asking our kids to solve interesting problems… and we need it to be ok if they get it wrong. – Seth Godin

  • We need to work on getting students to ask questions. Design thinking provides a framework for generating a skill of empathy and engages in a new model of problem solving.
  • Students will show you what they value when you give them independence and allow them to personalize their learning.

2 thoughts on “#SXSWedu – “The Myth of the Magical Device”

  1. Pingback: eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

  2. Pingback: #SXSWedu Fostering Innovation in Teaching and Learning via #EdTech | eLearning and Emerging Technologies @GVSU

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