Looking for the biggest idea in EdTech today? PedTech may just be it.

Jody Britten
4 min readJan 15, 2024

For years we have been searching for something to push us beyond TPACK. And, given recent writings and a fabulous new book, we might have it at our fingertips.

To put it succinctly, Pedagogical Technology (PedTech) represents a shift in educational technology, focusing on embedding pedagogy at the core of technology integration in education. PedTech emphasizes the critical role of pedagogical decisions in shaping learning and teaching experiences, driving the use of digital technology in educational settings.

One of the points about PedTech that resonates with me is the attention placed on the impact on children and their learning.

For some time, we have known the importance of implementation in the use of EdTech. However, the use of educational technologies can no longer be about access (I bought it, you use it). Rather it must be centered around implementation and how pedagogically, teachers will facilitate the use of specific technologies.

Fiona Aubrey-Smith and Peter Twining’s new book (hot off the press, by the way) is a great read to help you understand the premise for PedTech and why it should matter to all of us working to support access to quality learning while leveraging digital tools and resources. Throughout the book you will find practical guidance to educators, bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge of effective digital technology integration and its practical application. This includes research findings, pedagogical self-audit tools, and strategies to ensure that digital technology use is impactful and aligned with pedagogical priorities.

Through this book and the work of others (see the list of additional reading below) around this idea of PedTech there are a few big ideas that drive the idea of PedTech that should be welcome news to all of us. Plus, on the website, there are activity downloads that have so many uses I can’t list them all (be sure to check that out on OneLifeLearning).

So what is PedTech, and what does it mean for the work of digital learning? Here are a few key ideas.

PedTech Positions Pedagogy Over Technology.

PedTech places pedagogy, rather than mere technological practice, at the forefront of digital technology in education. This approach involves a deeper contemplation of why certain pedagogical approaches are employed and their long-term impact on learners. The emphasis is on the underlying pedagogical beliefs guiding the use of technology in teaching and learning processes.

PedTech Embraces Pedagogical Complexity.

Pedagogy is a multifaceted concept encompassing methods, beliefs, practices, and approaches to teaching and learning. PedTech encourages a nuanced understanding of these aspects, moving beyond generic applications of pedagogy to a more precise and evidence-informed conversation about classroom practices.

PedTech Acknowledges Relationships and Behaviors in Learning.

Shifting the focus from systems and processes, PedTech prioritizes the relationships and behaviors of individuals involved in the learning process, including students, teachers, and school leaders. This shift emphasizes human interactions and the effective use of technology to support these interactions in educational contexts.

PedTech can help us in Leveraging Technology for Pedagogical Goals.

PedTech advocates for using technology as a tool to achieve specific pedagogical objectives, rather than as an end in itself. This requires educators to critically evaluate how technology can support their teaching goals and the learning needs of students, ensuring that technology use is underpinned by effective pedagogy.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

  • “There has been a tendency to focus on the technology itself rather than concentrating on the needs of learners.”
  • “Research about the use of digital technology in education consistently tells us that it is not technology itself that has an impact on learning but the way in which digital technology is used.”
  • “However, they suffer from the problem of pedagogical ambiguity and their failure to support teachers in thinking about how different elements within the framework dynamically relate to each other.”

PedTech emphasizes the importance of understanding and applying pedagogical principles to enhance the teaching and learning experience, ensuring that technology serves as an effective tool in the educational process. As always, my focus is on how we can operationalize this into teacher training and practice.

Given what I know so far, our best bet is to dive into the design of lessons that really reshape our use of technology. As we dive into the use of PedTech, I truly believe that it would serve us well to consider how technology hasn’t been supported or aligned with pedagogy (i.e., if you want an active learning environment that promotes critical thinking but your technology is all skill and drill there is misalignment). And, we have to (if PedTech can really result in the magic that I think it can), refocus on pedagogy (we have gotten away from that over the years and our lack of attention on how we design, and facilitate learning has shown).

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Jody is a thought leader and long-time contributor to education and digital learning. She is focused on helping organizations use data and tools to help achieve great impact. Her work with education, strategy, and community empowerment has reached six continents and countless countries. Keep up with her work at jodybritten.com.



Jody Britten

fierce mom, constant learner, writer, speaker, researcher, thinker, designer, gadget queen, advocate for learning that matters & public ed, lead with my actions