Sunday, May 01, 2005

Why Won't They Just Use Technology?

There is an order of at least one magnitude between teachers who are oriented toward getting things done in the classroom with web and electronic technologies and those who aren't. This is a tipping point issue. As the digital generation takes over the classroom, change will come. I believe that the problem is in our own orientation: we are carpenters and every problem can be solved best with a hammer and nail. Here is the problem in a nutshell. We must put ourselves in the shoes of the non-enamored and skeptical. If we do this, then the proper order of business at the beginning of any professional development training becomes (1.) what do you teachers want students to be able to do in your content, and (2.) what are the best tools for doing it? Real 3 by 5 cards might just be a more effective tool than a weblog.

We need to know what our tech tools do best and then back off if there are other alternative tools available. Wouldn't we be better off developing methods which help teachers decide on the best mix of all available tools and that includes which ones fits our teaching personas best. That's a lot more nuance than most of us blogvangelists have been able to muster. Until the ed schools get off their butts to do this, I think we better get started with it.

Will at Weblogg-ed broaches this topic. I think he is dead on when he says that we must continue to get the message out. I thing the best way to do that is by making these tools part of the larger mix of tools. We must co-op the old tools just as the Catholic Church co-opted pagan holidays by squatting down next to, say... the lesson plan and taking it over incrementally. And we need to make damned sure that the mix makes their teaching lives better in demonstrably easier ways. Technology must pay for them in their own way first. If they come to see it our way so much the better, but until that tipping point is reached we are pissing in the wind by just putting the food down where the goats can get to it.

No comments: