The Day I Stumped David Pogue

David Pogue did a spectacular job in delivering the keynote address at this year’s UCET Conference. He was funny, informative, and rather practical in his advice. In addition to seeing the Master sing several of his ever-popular medleys, I really liked one of his opening jokes.

I’ve spoken so many times at this conference that I’m starting to think it should be called the Utah/Pogue Coalition of Educational Technology conference. The name works for me, but I’m not sure how well the acronym will take hold: UPCET.
Following his keynote address, David participated in a panel discussion wherein audience participants were allowed to discuss various questions and/or topics. At one point in the discussion, Mr. Pogue mentioned how, as a regular part of his job, he is able to experience a large number of different technologies in hopes of evaluating such products. Naturally, I thought to ask him about his most highly recommended – with a slight educational twist.

“Which, in your opinion, are the top five or so technologies that would be most beneficial for teachers and students to incorporate into their learning practice,” I asked.

His answer surprised me.

“I don’t really know,” he admitted.

Wow. I had stumped David Pogue. The David Pogue.

Continuing, however, he provided an answer that was as beneficial as any list he may or may not have been able to produce.

“Having never been a teacher, I’m afraid I just don’t know what would be most beneficial. I guess in order to best answer your question,” he said, “I would need to know what the teacher or student hoped to accomplish in using technology.”

Well put, Mr. Pogue. I guess even the geeks realize that it’s pointless to use technology only for technology’s sake. For without genuine purpose, the best that Web 2.0 has to offer education is worth little more than any other pedagogical tool.

Image Source - Kelly Dumont

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