“Put technology where it can be best used… In the classroom!”

[cross ranted as a comment at Stephen Ransom’s EdTechTrek] [and slightly elaborated]

I am starting to think that because many teachers and administrators
still do not know exactly what we can do with technology there is a
reluctance to put it in the classroom.

Example – today the Internet had, for some reason, stopped working
in the west wing of our school. I was at the computer lab with one
other teacher. She packed her kids up and went back because she only
books the computer lab for the last period of the day so that her kids
can ‘play on the internet’.

For her, technology has nothing to do with learning, it is a form of
entertainment. I stayed with my kids and used the time to work on our
Science vocabulary while teaching them how to hyperlink in
presentations. They were linking their vocabulary words to comments and images made by their peers, creating a collaborative learning network around the new terminology they are learning in Science. (Not bad for a wing it activity, eh ;)

For some reason, this teacher has not caught on yet that technology
can be much more than a way to waste time. I can understand the frustration of the new teachers that Stephen mentions in his post, but
until the more experienced teachers and administrators at schools begin
to use technology as a learning tool, really use it, and demand that
good forms of it be available in the schools, it isn’t going to happen.

I can also understand the frustration of the more experienced teachers who are
expected to use technology but who aren’t really given the time to grow
less afraid of it and to experiment with what can be done. There is a huge divide between our students who live and breathe with technology as part of their daily lives and the teachers who don’t. Huge. and while
there are still administrators who don’t use technology in their daily lives and who don’t champion for its appropriate use and availability in the school, let alone the classroom…well…that divide can only be expected to widen.

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Glad to see you are able to bring this discussion down to a practical level where you live and breathe every day. This weekend, my 5 yr. old son has his first soccer practice. I was blown away by these 2 coaches “telling” the students how to do a drill. Now remember, they are 5 years old. And, believe it or not, they were quite frustrated that the kids were not catching on. Amazingly, neither of them ever thought to SHOW (model) them what their words were trying to express. That got me to thinking… As you state, we do not give teachers time to grow, we don’t create school climates that are conducive to growth (rather, survival and crisis management), and we don’t mentor teachers enough by SHOWING them the power of connected and technology-infused learning. I worked with one teacher a while back who had the luxury of having me (not boasting here… could have been anyone will similar skills and perspective) in her classroom on and off for a few months. She grew tremendously because I was able to show her some of this stuff in practice and we had the added luxury of time to sit and reflect/talk about her thoughts, aspirations, struggles… as relating to technology use and constructivist based learning. If only we could mentor teachers this way across the curriculum and in all pedagogical areas. There is just so much to know and so little time to learn new things. However, it is not an excuse. Teachers who are lifelong learners find ways to stay fresh and current in their field. Some just need a little more help… help that is hard to find. I love this teacher’s perspective! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ8VAef8QM4
    Keep feeding the fire!

  2. “Learn with tech the way they live with tech.”

    It’s our motto, right?

    Great post from Scott on Dangerously Irrelevant on the very issue you bring up about administrators and their support or lack thereof.

    Welcome to the new site!

    My reader has been updated with the new feed.

  3. Steve – thanks for the link to that video, once again you have inspired a new post! It would be interesting to find out about the kind of support that teacher received from her administrators as she was starting out.

    Dennis – thanks for pointing me to Scott’s post (I had missed that one!). What an upsetting event!

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