Teachers aren’t integrating digital technologies into their instruction on a regular basis.
The administrators who are in charge of leading their school organizations into the information age don’t really understand the information age.
Schools aren’t providing the types of learning experiences necessary to prepare students to be 21st century citizens and workers.
Some is not a rebuttal. Some is merely a reflection of the natural variation that exists among people and organizations. Some is not a reason to ignore the large-scale, widespread, policy- and practice-level decisions that need to be made to transition our schools into a digital, global society. Some is not permission to stand pat.
Some doesn’t get us very far. (Neither does all.)
I agree. On the other hand I have to look at the progress my school has made.
2001 – 2002 I had 1 computer, computer lab was for drill and kill program only. Floppy drives were locked down so teachers wouldn’t give the computers viruses. Computers were used only for “free time” and AR
2008 – 2009 Computer Lab is now TECH lab. Students have TECH as part of their specials rotation. The TECH teacher works with classroom teachers helping them expand classroom projects using technology to demonstrate knowledge. Note 60% of our kids DO NOT have computers at home. So our kids really need a set time devoted to working with computers each week.
Classrooms have at least 3 computers up to 5. Students regularly travel to the Tech Lab to work independently (while other classes are going on) on various projects and research.
2 teachers took a class this summer and received $10,000 grants for technology. They are sharing their projects with their teammates. This will include using I-Pods, geo caching, creating video, digital cameras, and Promethean boards.
It is the 2nd week of school and my 2nd graders have started importing still pictures into movie maker and doing voice overs to explain school procedures.
My 1st graders have filmed each other describing the flowers in the butterfly garden using sense words. (I love flip cameras for elementary kids. They are easier for the kids to hold.)
My kinders are teaching each other how to “play games” on the computer. Using the correct vocabulary.
My 3rd – 5th graders have learned to log into their Moodle and will start making their science podcasts next week.
The last technophoic teacher left our campus at the end of last year.
Every open spot in my schedule has a teacher scheduled to use my lab.
A group of 4th and 5th graders run our TV station.
As long as we improve each year – we are helping our kids.
I think it’s important not to implement in a haphazard way. Introduce a new technology, make multi-year plans, build buy in, use early adopters and examplars to encourage new initiatives, Build comfort and work with what works, In my district, we have “some” blogging classrooms, TV production, video conferencing programs, music software, engineering initiatives, podcasting beginning soon, and wikis. This year some of us are going to try a flatclassroom type project. But, it’s not a speedy process. We’re taking our time and integrating into our currriculum thoughtfully. A coherent program requires time to build.
The desire that everyone rush to get up to speed is the special myopia of the enthusiastic teched professional. But, it’s not the whole picture. In the few years that I’ve been keeping track of teched initiatives online, I’ve seen some great programs, but I’ve also seen some real garbage. Poems and stories by high school juniors in podcast that are embarassingly low level… demonstrating to any English teacher that podcasting was the bullseye and that learning how to revise, edit, consider language was not important… I’ve read online magazines created by students where the writing and research demonstrated how entirely uninterested the teacher was in the content and how over-enamoured he or she was with the fact that it was going on line, blogs where students learn nothing except that anything is acceptable if you press enter afterwards… Mangled attempts to use any and every technology without a glance at really embedding skills (other than those of technology use itself)
What we need are programs that are coherent and thoughtful. If the content is poor, the fact that it is online is a big SO WHAT. Creating opportunities, establishing multi-year plans, building on the best that has come before rather than rushed out the door driven only by the thrill of the new. I’d like to see more HOW and WHY and less WHEN in the dialogue.