Demystifying Ed Tech

Too often, conversations about educational technology are rife with black and white thinking. On the one hand, some assume that the introduction of technology into pedagogy will destroy the relationship between student and teacher, resulting in distracted students with no ability to focus. On the other hand, some think that with the introduction of a digital platform their teaching will be revolutionized, transformed, or create some other unseen positive result.

As the first installment of a three-part series of workshops, this event will attempt to dispel absolutist notions about educational technology and offer some practical advice for how to decide what kind of digital tools you might introduce into your classroom. We’ll discuss basic criteria to consider when evaluating and selecting tools, and share best practices for how to get started with digital pedagogy.

Join the TLC Staff for this workshop, which is designed primarily for teachers just beginning to utilize digital tools in their courses. It will, however, also be useful for those with more experience who are interested in exploring how to evaluate and integrate new tools into their courses.

Demystifying Ed Tech was offered in the Spring 2017 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Andrew McKinney.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and slides.

Materials Folder: Demystifying Ed Tech

Workshop Plan

[1:00-1:15] Introductions, sign-in, basic overview of the workshop

[1:15-1:40] Short free-write and share with basic question: “What are you trying to accomplish by including new digital tools in your pedagogy?”

  • Give a few examples of what challenges ed tech might be able to approach
  • Ask participants to take 3-5 minutes to write about this question and then open up the floor for discussion.

Short “lecture” on best practices, consider:

  • Iterate, uncertainty
  • What is supported
  • Is it designed for educational purposes.
  • Student connectivity
  • Aesthetics
  • Privacy/FERPA
  • Accessibility

[1:40-2:00] Showcase three common uses of digital tools (Blogs, Maps) and show beginner, intermediate, and expert level tools.

[2:00-2:05] Introduce evaluation matrix

[2:05-2:45] Break up into groups and evaluate a series of tools in terms of the evaluation matrix, share their findings with the group

Questions for tool evaluation

  • What does it do?
  • Does it have clear documentation y/n?
  • Is it open source? Is it free?
  • Is it designed for educational purposes?
  • Can you decipher the terms of service, especially in relationship to data privacy and copyright?
  • Is it mobile friendly? Does it require a powerful computer?
  • Does it meet accessibility standards?
  • What level of digital competence does it require?
  • What does it look like?