"We don't tell kids to use one tool or another-- PowerPoint or iWork or iMovie; part of the assignment is to pick an appropriate tool." - Mike Arsenault, Maine middle school principal (source)When learning supersedes the technology tools, students win. As I've lobbied for previously, an educator's job is to connect the content, pedagogy and technology in a way that has the best chance of engaging students with diverse learning styles to help them build upon their previous knowledge.
Conference breakouts and professional development sessions devoted to specific technology tools are typically self-serving and eventually undermine students' true ability to choose their own tools.
Here is the typical "show, learn, require" cycle seen in today's educational systems.
1. Educators are shown new tools from colleagues or outside consultants.
2. Time is taken to learn the new tools and develop new lesson plans.
3. Students are required to use the new tool because the educator is comfortable using it, thus killing student's ability to choose tools they might be comfortable with.
I realize that not all educators consider themselves to be tech-savvy, but should this be an "excuse" for limiting the tools our students use in the classroom? Let's give our students the choices they deserve!