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T & L

Pedagogy first…

By April 26, 20168 Comments

Michael Fullan is credited with the phrase, “Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator”. He’s right on the money as far as I’m concerned.


Following a recent TeachMeet presentation at Tom Sherrington’s school in London, I was inspired by a presentation by Oliver Caviglioli in which he talked about a number of different things, one of which was that there really is no such thing as deeper learning. It inspired me to create the quote poster in the tweet shown below:

Ana Cristina’s response resonated with me. I didn’t think it was a particularly ‘bandwagon’ kind of phrase but it did demonstrate the lack of context given to the image and quote I had created. It certainly made me reflect upon how the image and the thinking behind quotes that I tweet could be made clearer.

Going back to Fullan’s quote above; something that has been my guiding principle with learning with technology has always been that we should have a ‘pedagogy first‘ approach to using technology. It is the focus on my second ‘One Best Thing’ book ‘More Ed, Less Tech’ in my role as ADE.

I think the message might be getting through! Is the message clearer on this slide?

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 16.30.59

My opening keynote at the Derbyshire ICT/Computing Conference last Friday saw me focussing some considerable time around this topic. Talking and spending more time on the thinking about how and why we choose to use technology (with some solid examples) than throwing 101 apps at the audience.

One of my favourite slides involves thinking about our moral purpose when it comes to teaching and learning (with technology).

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 16.59.01

Learning is too important to leave to chance, full stop. Before you go spending a load of cash on technology, think:

  • Will it enhance learning?
  • What action plan do you have in place?
  • What is your whole school vision for technology?
  • What training or incentives will your staff need?
  • What difference will it make?
  • Is teaching and learning in the school right (as adding new technologies to poor teaching won’t solve things)?
  • What do students think?
  • What do parents think?
  • Are the conditions for success in place?

There is so much to think about and not just the learning either. As Andreas Schelicher said, “technology can amplify great teaching but […] technology cannot replace poor teaching.”

If you’d like to learn more about how I approach teaching and learning (with or without technology) and feel I can help your school, please do not hesitate to get in touch

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson, @ICTEvangelist. Click here to learn more.


  • Su Chapman says:

    Hi Mark. We’ve just put an extra ordinary bid in to school to buy Kindle fires so they can be used in our Eng dept. as have rare opportunity to research in ICT suites. Want to use them as research and aiding independent working rather than us just standing imparting our own knowledge. If we get the go ahead can I get in touch for advice? How best to set up code of practise, best way to use them when and how?. I think they will be a great asset and learning tool but am mindful that they can also be a distraction. Cheers Su Chapman

    • Hi Su

      What I did was work with teachers and digital leaders to compose an iPad (or eLearning) etiquette set of rules which, when decided, was made up into a poster, shared with colleagues via briefing and discussed with all children in tutor time. It was also shared with parents via the school newsletter. Perhaps you could do something the same? With that in mind, I will now blog about it and include the design that we came up with.

      Re: advice, very happy to help. Given that the devices run on Android too there are lots of other learning opportunities through the apps that will be available on the devices too. Either way, happy to help remotely with a few questions or if you wanted to get me in, we could look at that too.

      Hope that helps!

      Best wishes,


  • Su Chapman says:

    YAY soon who doesn’t think I’m mad. Have suggested the same as think we need the kids to use technology to support learning even if it is only on phones. I’ll keep you posted really big and hopefully will be getting back in touch. Have printed the blog from today to share with colleagues. MANY thanks.

  • Elizabeth Anne says:

    Whenever I read articles about pedagogy first, I think of all of the teachers who still have absolutely no idea of what is available.

    In my experience ( language teaching) it is only by manipulating the tools that one can start to imagine whole new ways of teaching.
    And while teachers can be invited to explore this new world, it doesn’t seem reasonable to impose this way of working at the level of an entire school.
    Basically, introducing technology has to be a bottom up move, rather than than a top down one.
    “Pedagogy first” is the cry of digitally competent people, and even seems to imply a lack of respect for teachers, though it’s a good thing to remind school administrators of regularly 🙂

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