I just finished reading the May edition of Leading and Learning with Technology published by the ISTE. In the midst of some commentary on p. 47, a somewhat ironic quote (considering the publication's emphasis) stood out:

"The most influential ed tech tool is not a tool at all, but a person..."
It reminded me of a book I read by Doug Johnson several years ago entitled Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part: observations about making technology work in schools. This book is a must read for any one interested in engaging in meaningful educational technology discussions. I have attended conferences, read articles and skimmed through countless blog posts on topics such as "using wikis in your classroom" or "10 ways to engage your students using podcasts." Once the "tool" has been mastered and potentially even tried out several times in the classroom setting, the natural reaction of any educator is to begin the "evangelist" stage and share the new tool and its application with as many colleagues as possible. This is a good thing, right?

In his 30th mini-chapter, Johnson makes a point that resonates with me:
"Technology-literate folks know when to do things the old fashioned way."
We can't get so bogged down with technology that the tool itself takes precedence over quality teaching and learning.

The 51st mini-chapter hammers home this point:
"Rule of Restructuring Education with Technology: the real changes are in teaching practices not technology."
Requiring your students to create Power Point slides for a presentation is not true technology integration. Presentations are nothing new. Neither is having them type up a history time line. History and time lines have been around forever! (Pun intended.)

We can keep attending our ed. tech conferences, Tweet about our favorite technology tools, and blog about how our students are missing out if we don't use 21st century tools in our schools, but until the person becomes the BEST ed tech tool, the battle to have a meaningful impact on student learning will never be won. We, as educators, not Google or Moodle, have the potential to change the status quo in eduation.

Are you up for the challenge?