Stanley Kubrick, the great director of 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, and The Shining, cared deeply about the tools of his trade. This was exemplified when he filmed Barry Lyndon with two ultra-rare Carl Zeiss primes. These 50mm and 35mm f/0.7 camera lenses were originally created for use in the Apollo space program and were later modified for Kubrick to use with a Mitchell BNC camera. The lenses allowed Kubrick to film portions of Barry Lyndon by candlelight, something that was unheard of at the time (and is still extremely difficult to accomplish today). You can see an example of Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon work, and read more about the lenses, here.
Every field requires tools to do a job well. Of course it’s possible to complete your work with subpar tools, but this oftentimes results in subpar results. This underscores a very old saying: If you care about your work, you care about your tools.
This can be applied to education–especially in today’s classroom. Educational tools will never be more important than a good teacher, just like a lens isn’t more important than a gifted movie director. But just as Kubrick took a very expensive lens and made a masterpiece like Barry Lyndon, a teacher can take a Chromebook, iPad, or SMART Board and enhance student learning.
Unfortunately in education, we don’t talk about the quality of our tools very often. We discuss how this device or that web based program can get the job done, but there’s very little said about jettisoning computers, websites, apps, or curriculum because they’re crappy. There should be. Kubrick would’ve never suffered tools that didn’t help him make quality pictures, and teachers should be no different.