We are taking steps. Slow, measured, and tender steps towards changing the philosophy in our school. The diagram above (thanks to Scott and his whole Change Week agenda) typifies the stages that organizations go through as they accept innovation and change.
Last week we opened our tablet program to our high school staff. As of this posting, over 30 teachers have responded to the initial invitation to the roll out. That is roughly 30% of our high school teaching staff that has accepted the offer to use tablet PCs in their classroom. Looking at Lucas’ chart above, that tells me that we are moving in a great direction right off the bat. However, that number needs some clarification: as I analyze the list, a small group of the teachers are regulars in my professional development classes, while others I have not really worked with all that much. That is not to say that those I have not worked with are not ready to begin using the tools that I teach in my classes–we all have met those teachers (and we actually love them) who are effective with little input from tech coordinators because they are learners themselves and figure out what they needed to do. Most tech coordinators, myself included, probably fell into that category when and if we taught in the classroom. So as for our early adopters, that number falls down into the single digits. As a first step, I am excited with the turnout.
I had a great meeting today with a member of our Phys. Ed/Health Department who has been one of the early adopters in our school. We talked for over an hour about how we can change the overall attitude students have for health class. She is familiar with the tools that I hawk, for lack of a better word, but she hit it squarely when she used the word “ownership.” She was referring to how to hook the students into a learning process by asking them to give it value and meaning. There are myriad ways to do that through our pedagogy, and we discussed the possibilities that did not include technology: guest speakers, community service projects that require the students to affect local change, etc. We laid out an ambitious project that we are hoping will accomplish the goals we have in mind for her health classes.
When I left the conversation and went on with the rest of my day, I kept coming back to the ideas we spoke about and I was recharged, ready for summer, and ready to push that bell curve further to the right. It was great to have a conversation that was charged with the willingness to try, to change and possibly fail. What I took from the exchange was more than anything a glimmer of hope that people do not want the status quo.