Beyond Technology

When does technology become more than just a tool, and instead a necessary context for learning? I explore this question by highlighting five different articles and studies.

– NYC libraries are now allowing patrons to check out WiFi hotspots.
– A new literacy framework for educators focuses on social media skills.
– eReaders such as Kindles and Nooks show little difference in comprehension when compared to reading in print.
– A teacher’s students learn how to handle a rude commenter.
– A study of video games shows boys can read six levels above their current reading level when motivated to get to the next stage.

This post is concluded with my own experience in how, when engaged in deep learning, the technology just seems to fade away. I hope you extend our learning in the comments!

Matt Renwick

The medium is the message. – Marshall McLuhan

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 6.54.50 PMNew York City libraries will soon let patrons “check out the Internet” by Nancy Scola (The Washington Post, December 4, 2014)

New York City residents can now check out an Internet hotspot to use in their own homes. This normally monthly financial obligation is available to any patron with a library card and are currently enrolled in a community-based program, such as citizenship classes. This is in response to a University of Albany-SUNY study that found that “in 2011, nearly 30 percent of households in New York City were not subscribed to broadband at home”. It is part of a broader initiative by the city to close the digital divide. A related program includes turning city pay phones into WiFi hotspots.

Critical Digital Literacy Explained for Teachers (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, December 2014)

This website highlights a framework developed…

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Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

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