Technology as Icing or Dough or Spice?

by Jean Tower

In the closing keynote at ISTE 2013 Adam Bellow used an analogy with icing on the cake and dough to talk about technology in education. It went something like this:










It was a nice analogy and I have thought of it a couple of times since ISTE.

To hear what Adam actually said, watch the video of his keynote.

This week I was reading Miguel Guhlin’s blog and he had written about some empandas that his daughter made and asked why they weren’t very spicy.
The explanation?

Since she is still a novice empanada maker (or was at the start of the process), she didn’t realize that she needed to mix the picante sauce in with the meat while it was being prepared. Adding it afterward resulted in empanadas that lacked sufficient spice to make them palatable.

He goes on to make the analogy that tossing technology into a lesson or unit after the fact is similarly insufficient – it will be less impactful than if it had been incorporated from the beginning of the planning process, purposefully and meaningfully – not just an “add-on” tossed in at the last minute.


There are many of us that have made analogies and built cases for way too many years for us to still need to be convincing people.

I have used a “core” analogy – that technology must be incorporated into our very cultures and be applied to all our core goals.


I’m sure we could come up with a really good and quite sizable collection of the analogies we have heard and used – – but why is technology still so often (not always, and not everywhere) an afterthought, an add-on, a peripheral concern?


Let’s make this a New Year’s Resolution for 2014 – for each of us to move as many people (educators, parents, students, community members) toward the perspective of supporting and clamoring for ubiquitous computing applied meaningfully to teaching and learning!


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