The Liverpool High School 1:1 laptop failure has brought drawn lengthy grimace on the face of the edublogosphere, and a considerable number of “well, what did you expect?” from the more noted members of our community. Here’s a smattering:
Andy Carvin at Learning.now:
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen students using their
laptops in the classroom as if nothing else had changed, lined up in
neat rows, each laptop on a desk, with students listening to a teacher
lecture or taking a test on the laptop. Those aren’t laptops – those
are expensive pencils. Of course you’re not going to see
achievement improve when pedagogical practices aren’t rethought from
the ground up! Where is the boldness, the pedagogical imagination
required to put these devices to use to reach their teaching potential
– and students’ learning potential, for that matter?
Tom Kennedy on Andy’s blog:
We must create the context in which 1-1 computing can be effective
by redefining what education looks like and how it is assessed. Until
then we will continue to see “islands of innovation” that prove
successful (usually because the rules of engagement have been
suspended) surrounded by expensive failures.
Technology can’t force a change in education, as I once believed it
could. Education must change first. Then we will begin to realize the
full potential of technology
Will Richardson on a note from del.icio.us:
Note: There are so many potential reasons for this, but the basic reason is because learning with technology is simply not a systemic part of the K-12 curriculum. It’s not a part of the way we do business. Instead, it’s something we try to make work at certain times for certain purposes. And even then, we don’t fully understand the implications and potentials of the tools. Not surprising…is it?
The discussions I have been having in my physical world center on how to change the environment so that if we did move to a 1:1 initiative our pedagogy would be in line with what our technology was. Liverpool failed for all of the reasons stated above. My district would as well because our method of teaching, for the most part, is derived from a model that worked really well for a very long time, and, if all were to remain the same, would work really well for a longer time. We know, however, that our students are not going to let that timeline stand still, that they are making the needle jump all over the place. What do we do to make ourselves into seismologists capable of reading that needle?
Reinvent. I am leaning more in the direction of Tom Haskins when he writes:
An underground movement is recruiting subversives to replace the massive machine for the manufacture of controlled content. Must see learning as a growth process. Must demonstrate the envisioning of a botanical
process of planting of seeds that blossom into flowers. Insights into
ecological cycles, successions and transformations — a plus.
Must have experience with industrial models of schooling. Evidence of switching from pushing content to pulling for the learners is a requirement. Context creators preferred over content developers. Must be able to win without a battle and not make enemies of power trippers who think they can make learning happen with “command and control” requirements.
An M.Ed in informal learning optional. Must show the abilities to have nurturing effects
on learners, to act like a learner oneself and to approach life as an
endeavor of continual learning. Evidence of significant personal growth
given precedence over stagnant or composting developments. Contact with
educational aliens taken into consideration.
When I survey my teachers, formally or informally, about their use of technology and the stumbling blocks to using it in the classroom, I get fewer responses about teachers not being able to handle the know-how. What I usually get is that it sticks out of the lesson too much; that it is too obvious and obtrusive. The goal is transparency, not only in what we are doing being available to all stakeholders in the community, but also in our ability to move from mini-lesson through speaking, to mini-lesson through Skyping the chemical engineer to further the point.
So, I can continue to rant about how people are not using the amazing technologies that we have available, or I can find ways to sneak it into their pedagogy. The failure of the Liverpool initiative, like others in the same boat, rests not on the students for their misuse or lack of performance on standardized tests, but rather on the school administrators and staff for failing to realize that a seismic shift needed to take place in their philosophy towards school. If I am fortunate enough to be in that situation, I will do my best to initiate change before that happens.
Who do we want to be then, the teachers who metamorphosize and are willing to dismantle only to rebuild? Or just the opposite? I know where I am going.