It is about the technology! The teaching is important, but so is the technology

One hundred years ago, crossing the Atlantic took five days and travelling to the other side of the world took weeks, if not months. So, one hundred years ago, you could not have said to your friend in New York See you tonight or See you tomorrow to your friend in Sidney, because seeing them so soon just wasn’t possible.

But then came the technology and with it the ability to do the seemingly impossible.

One of our favourite adages in education has always been that technology is just a tool, that the technology doesn’t really matter and what matters is the teaching. But the technology does matter and it isn’t just a tool because, as history shows, technology has made possible the impossible time and again.

If we don’t place technology at the heart of our strategic planning and understand its transformational potential, then we’ll forever have to make do with the possible.

It’s not just about the teaching, it’s also about the technology. And let’s not forget that. Don’t you think?

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  1. I agree with your argument but I think that the expression ‘it’s not about the technology, it’s about the teaching’ doesn’t deny that fact. I interpret it as meaning that learning is the central matter, not using the latest technology for the sake of it but to transform.

    1. I would agree with that Lisa. From a school leadership perspective, however, the “it’s not about the technology, it’s about the teaching” adage is often used to justify poor strategic thinking that disregards the application of new technologies as a peripheral issue. On the other hand, I’m suggesting it’s time to bring the effective use of technology – new and old – to the fore of school development planning.

      Many thanks for your comment.

      1. I can see that too, and would agree that a clear vision is needed for technology use to be truly effective and transformational. 

  2. I can see why you are making these comments and I totally concur that the tech is vital component of developing education practice and changing what is for the most part, an archaic model in most institutes but as lisibo pointed out the learning has got to be at the heart of everything we do. You are right that by saying that we are giving ammunition to those leaders who do not want to invest or take risks. I think there should be something in between what you have said and what is typically said, something like:”learning is at the centre of everything that we do, the foundation of education but without having technology as a key component in the building that houses education, the structure will be weak and likely to struggle to function as a place where high quality learning can happen”

  3. Thanks Jose. You won’t be surprised to know that I completely agree with you, having written two long posts on this subject: “It’s the technology, stupid!” at and “Aristotle’s saddle-maker” at

    I think that Nick and Lis are both slightly missing the point. Saying “it isn’t about the technology, it’s about the learning” clearly suggests that the technology and the learning are antagonistic to one another, when in fact the right technology is the *means* of supporting good learning. Using technology for its own sake is clearly a mistake – which is precisely why it *is* about the technology and getting it right.

    The formula that the DfE is currently using is that we have placed an over-emphasis on hardware. In my view this is slightly to mis-formulate the problem. We have placed an over-emphasis on generic technology (hardware being one example) and failed to develop the education-specific technology that we need.

    Thanks, Crispin.

Your feedback and comments are very welcome