I’m not an all-or-nothing techno-fundamentalist who believes that the
only way we’re ever going to improve our schools is by passing out
laptops and forcing every teacher to become a web programmer or
podcaster. One size does not fit all. All the techno-toys in the world
won’t rescue a poorly-prepared lesson.
Or this one from Steve Dembo, via Twitter:
After reading a ton of blog posts from NECC and EduBloggerCon, I’m starting to wonder if We (Edubloggers) are getting a little egotistical. WE get it, THEY don’t. And if people did things our way, then we’d all be driving flying cars. But WE are a distinct minority.
The worry here is a legitimate one–in all of our post-NECC hysteria and school change exuberance, are we beginning to forget our stakeholders? As I prepare for next school year by looking back at this past one, I can see bits and pieces of this mentality in my actions and interactions with people. “This is where we are going–jump on or you will be irrelevant!”
Does that really move us any closer towards accomplishing our goals of changing philosophy, physical structure, and learning environment? It actually continues to foster its own unique “digital divide” within our schools.
What’s the right approach? I have been promoting Ben Wilkoff’s work with the Academy of Discovery here in recent weeks, and his most recent post “The Ripe Environment” outlines 10 different situations that need to be in place for teachers to become successful users of instructional technology. Here are the 10:
- Have a genuine need to be heard by others and, in one way or another, receive feedback for contributions.
- See living examples of collaboration (not case studies or projects from a few years ago) that they can become a part of.
- Have the time to connect more than two dots together. (Rather than connecting: “My students need to know this” with “here is the information” they need to have time to connect “My student needs to know this” with “my students need to evaluate this for validity” with “my students need to know how to use this resource to find the information” with “my students need to create new information for others to use.”)
- See collaboration as an extension of their natural instincts as a teacher (opening possibilities for learning).
- Find the backchannels relevant to them (these backchannels must be encouraged and honored as vital sources of learning).
- Know that their products and ideas as valuable.
- Understand the marks of successful collaboration. (They have to know what it looks like.)
- Accept that questions are both for interdependent and interdependent learning. (All questions are serious points of inquiry in The Ripe Environment.)
- Believe that personal and professional change can never be institutionalized. (Individuals create change, not schools or districts.)
- Know that meetings, conferences, and workshops are not the places where the most powerful learning and change takes place.
I really appreciate how Ben focused less on creating a separation between what tech-savvy teachers are doing and what the rest of the profession is doing, but more on the pedagogy. That really does a service to what I feel is the true role of anyone hoping to facilitate change within a school district.