“Every technology has a zone of possibility around it, and it’s often the users who come in and determine what that zone of possibility is,” said Mishra. “And it’s this zone that allows for creativity in the classrooms.”
When it comes to technology and teaching, Koehler and Mishra believe that technology influences knowledge, and vice versa.
Teaching is a complicated process, because not only must educators possess many traits–including wisdom, flexibility, creativity, and thoughtfulness–but they also must transfer knowledge to a class of people with different backgrounds, needs, and requirements.
And simply knowing a discipline, Mishra said, is not the same as teaching a discipline. A mathematician is not necessarily a great math teacher, he said; rather, high-quality teaching is really the transformation of content.
Transformation of content occurs when the educator understands where a learner is coming from–his or her background and conceptual knowledge.
“Teaching is about transforming disciplinary knowledge to meet the needs of students,” said Mishra.
Technology has to be integrated into the content and pedagogy, but it has to be used in an innovative manner as well. If educators integrate technology effectively, it becomes more meaningful because it connects learners to the content–and something creative and new emerges from that effort.
“[Technologies] don’t become educational technology just by virtue of being there,” Mishra said. “Giving a student an iTouch or a laptop doesn’t mean it becomes educational technology, it means that we have to repurpose the technology for education, [such as using] a GPS and Google Earth to teach aspects of math.”