Punya Mishra presented a keynote on technology in education at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong (2012). In his opening remarks he stated that it is easy to get caught up in the technicalities of things and quoted Ted Nelson in saying that it is the unifying vision that is important.
Technology is a disruptive force...
In his keynote, Mishra provides the example of school students that are allowed to access the internet in an exam. This changes the nature of the exam questions from the regurgitation of knowledge to its application and perhaps even analysis. While the technology isn't doing the work for these students, it is changing how they go about their work, a reflection on the way technology is changing many aspects of our lives. It could be argued that type of test requires a deeper understanding of the topic. Furthermore, why test what can be Googled?
BUT technology alone is not going to bring about change.
Did the students come to learn or understand the ideas for that exam because of technology? No. This is where teachers bring their unique pedagogical approaches and content knowledge to the table. Purposing technology in education is a creative and innovative act. Many schools have people in technology coaching roles to support this. From my experience in being in such a role myself, predicting the potential use of technology across many subject areas is no easy feat. This is why Mishra, encourages teachers to explore, create and share, building a community of professional learners. One teacher might see how another teacher uses a technology tool and then apply that tool in a completely different way in their own classroom. What is important is that the tool is being thoughtfully applied based on the needs of the students, pedagogical goals of the teacher and context of the classroom.