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Back in February, Technology & Learning magazine, an industry title that has been around in paper format for decades, published it’s “Best of the Year” issue for 2021.1 The annual awards are supposed to recognize “educational technology that exceptionally supported teachers and students last year”.

Except look closer and it’s clear these awards have very little to do with learning.

The products are all about formal teaching – lecture-demo or “personalized instruction – and classroom management. Almost none of the “winners” are creative tools that allow students control of the tools.

In this “special issue” we find lots and lots of presentation/display devices, plenty of “standards-based” online content, and more than a few products calling themselves “platforms”.

I’m sure it’s also coincidence that most of the ads in the issue, many featuring a Tech & Learning “Best of 2021” logo, were paid for by many of those same “winners”.

Ok, so this kind of advertorial is not at all unusual, especially in the world of edtech publications. And it wouldn’t be so bad if this list were only seen by people who understand the context and caveats behind the choices.

Unfortunately, in my experience, publications like this wind up in front of administrators and non-educator IT buyers who take these so-called awards seriously.

And believe this is what the “best” use of edtech looks like.

On the cover of the issue, lots of stock photos provided by the companies being “honored”.

1. Warning: the site might require you to submit an email address before being allowed to view the issue.