Earlier this week I wrote a post for TechLearning which I posted here and at Ecology of Education titled “Open Letter to the Teacher who said ‘I Hate Technology.'” Sarcasm is not my strong suit, but it just felt like the right mode to match the way I was feeling. I’d like to turn this post over to the commenters at each of the three places that post appeared because of the conversations that sprang from it.
Veiled sarcasm and disguised insults and insinuations are not productive tools in diagolue. Nor, are they good tools for persuasion. Yes,it is difficult to leave your comfort zone, however, it is necessary for growth.”
While it is tempting to poke fun at those who resist technology, these teachers are often (but not always) the ones who have many of the other skills and talents necessary for good classroom instruction. They have the learning strategies, classroom discipline and understanding of curriculum down cold. When we honour these skills and abilities and provide on-going support many of these “resistors” are encouraged to use technology and change their teaching. When we belittle them, they, just like our students, retreat, resist and defend. Too often, when we “train” these teachers they feel overwhelmed as they struggle to see how the software connects to what they are doing in the classroom. And so they continue doing what they’ve always done.–Kendra Grant
From Ecology of Education
We might do well to also hate technology for its ability to shed light on assumptions and render the teacher’s knowledge authority obsolete. What’s more, when students understand technology better than us, it only serves to illuminate our own ignorance, further eroding our positions of authority.
What are we left to do? Level with students? Learn alongside them? Or worse, admit we don’t know something and learn from them?! Blasphemy, Patrick. Blasphemy.–Jason Flom
There are many good examples of how teachers are using technology with their students, both in and out of the classroom. It’s important to make those connections so teachers can see the value. Problems arise, though, when some teachers refuse to even participate in the discussion. They don’t need technology, and nothing anyone can say (or show) will change their minds – they’ve closed them tight. I think those teachers are in the minority, but they definitely present a challenge.–tcervo
Think there’s a deeper, possibly more discouraging aspect to this. The teacher who hates technology communicated a hesitation to learn and grow. Technology just happened to the target of the moment. And if that’s the case, this teacher needs to find a job where learning and growth aren’t the actual reason for the job to exist. We all resist change, and perhaps that’s more the motivation here. But failing to recognize that growth = change, and that to continue being a relevant teacher I must grow, and that to grow I must learn, and that technology may be the thing needed to be known at this point in history—that’s a sad commentary. Sure, our teachers did it without technology, but technology (other than filmstrips—BEEP!) was not an option.–Kevin Washburn
I’m not sure if your response is to a hypothetical person or not, but I wonder if the tact you take in this blog post will be a constructive addition to the conversation. Rant is certainly an appropriate tag for the post, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone an occasional rant. However, if conversation is what your looking for, why not ask questions.–msstewart
Patrick, I too hate technology. That is, I hate technology simply for technologies’ sake. On the other hand, I love learning and I love teaching kids how to learn. If I can use some digital tools among the other tools I’ve acquired over the past 17 years to help kids learn, I love that process. The more tools I have, the more effective I can be, as each tool may not be relevent, useful, or timely in every situation.–Barry Bachenheimer.
Thanks to everyone for truly pushing my thinking on this.