What is PedTech?

PedTech is very simply about putting pedagogical intentions first, and the technology serving those intentions second.

That’s it. Simple.

But we need to pause for a moment and be really clear about why it means something different to EdTech.

 

When we talk about EdTech, we are talking about technologies used in education.

These include:

  • technologies used for teaching (e.g. online classrooms, video-calls, content management, assignments, curriculum delivery)

  • technologies used for learning (e.g. creation software, formative assessment, communication tools)

  • technologies used for school administration (e.g. MIS, timetabling, parent/staff communications)

  • technologies used to underpin all the above (e.g. devices, infrastructure).

 

When we talk about EdTech, our conversation is framed around two things. Education and Technology. By Education, we are drawn to think about the systems and processes involved in education – content delivery, reporting, marking, evidencing, admin. By Technology, we are drawn to think about software and hardware that support those systems and processes.

Conversations about EdTech are framed by systems and processes.

 

These are actions, behaviours and pedagogies that we can learn, be trained to enact, and that we can incorporate or replicate in our own practices.

 

PedTech turns this on its head.

With PedTech we start by thinking about pedagogical intentions.

 

Just to be really picky here:

A pedagogy is an approach to teaching and learning. Each of us, as teachers, broadly align with one of the main theories of pedagogy whether we are aware of that or not.

Perhaps it helps to think of a pedagogy as like the rules of a game. It’s a way of doing things that leads to particular organisational structures and expectations, and particular practices, forms of interaction, and intended outcomes.

 

Our individual Pedagogical intentions are the ways in which we – personally - are approaching teaching and learning in a specific way. Pedagogical intentions are about the types of relationships that our actions create, and about the types of learning behaviours that our approaches encourage. These things are often subconscious.

Perhaps it helps to think of pedagogical intentions as the reasons why we’re playing the game – they are tied to our values and beliefs.

 

It’s a subtle but very important difference. We can replicate a pedagogical practice. But our pedagogical intentions are woven into the very fabric of who we are. The two can align, as well as differ.
As Hamachek (1999) said, ‘Consciously, we teach what we know. Unconsciously, we teach who we are’.

Consciously, we adopt pedagogies.

Unconsciously, we live out our own pedagogical stance.

 

And this matters when it comes to technologies because as research shows, technology reflects and amplifies our existing pedagogical stance (Aubrey-Smith, 2021; Twining and Maher, 2017).

 

So our choices about technology are reflecting and magnifying something that we may not yet be conscious of.

 

We can address this by surfacing our pedagogical stance and making it explicit. That’s the space that PedTech occupies.

 

PedTech is about starting our thinking and conversations with some key questions:

  • What is my role in relation to this student’s learning?

  • What role does this student believe I have in relation to their learning?

  • What is possible for this student if I support them?

    • What do they need to do to achieve this?

    • What can I do to support them to do that?

 

By answering those questions, we then see opportunities, possibilities and relationships surfaced.

We are then in a position to discover, try, explore and reflect upon the most appropriate technologies as solutions.

 

If EdTech is the shoe that fits the foot…

PedTech is the leg which gives that foot purpose and direction.

In partnership with Routledge:
From EdTech to PedTech
(the book: coming January 2023)
In partnership with TCAT:
From EdTech to PedTech (30 min film)