Ed Techy Stuff Teaching Stuff

Don’t Get Impressed by the New Shiny

There’s a lot of glitz in technology. When something new comes along, if it does something really cool that nothing else does, there’s something in your favor. Easy to use app? Awesome. Is it free*? There’s another plus. Are all the cool kids using it? OH MAN SIGN ME UP!!

But to revisit the old saying that not all that glitters is gold, is completely true. Sometimes that which glitters is glitter, and it gets into everything and ends up being horribly annoying.


The same goes, I feel, with educational technology. That old and busted technology may be a heck of a lot more stable than what’s new and hot. For example, iClickers. Sure, there’s web-based polling tools, but if you’re sitting in a large lecture hall deep in the bowels of a building where your cell service doesn’t reach and wifi is sketchy at best (or the network itself is sketchy), that old and busted radio frequency based iClicker device will work. No, there’s no glamour and it doesn’t have a cute app where you share unicorn or poo emojis, but it just works. And sometimes the pain of having to deal with old technology is worth it to ensure that the overall goals are met.

So why do I bring this up? In a time of limited budgets and expectations that things just WORK, it’s hard to chase after every new technology to see if it meets needs for everyone. That new technology, for example, might have a great iOS app, but no Android app. That technology as well might be free for a faculty member to use but cost students additional money. That new LMS might be eye-catching, but it lacks integration with standards and is hard to customize for your institution’s specific needs.

So my final point on this is that while its fun to chase the new shiny objects in the ed tech realm, that new technology may just not be as functional as what is available. Don’t get dazzled by the glitter…because the last thing you want is a glitter bomb.

*Free as in there’s no financial cost, but we’ll get your personal information for marketing