Sunday, September 20, 2015

Technology is NOT a Reward!

Change is hard.  I get it.  Trouble is, technology is here, and it's here to stay.  Why is it that some educators have such difficulty accepting it in their classrooms?

Let's think about how we ourselves use technology.  We use it to communicate, collaborate, and create. We use it to share, make people laugh, think, and stay connected.  But for some reason, this isn't the case in the classrooms of some educators.  Technology is viewed as an "add-on," a reward that must be earned for doing well.  Not only does this make no sense, it's flat-out wrong.  It is unfair to students, and deprives them of the tools and skills they need to grow and thrive in today's world.

Some teachers just dumbfound me.  For example, I know one teacher who makes his students use flashcards to learn sight words.  When I discussed with him the fact that there are several amazing apps that not only help students learn sight words, but track progress and allow teachers to tailor lessons, the teacher said, "I know.  And my students will be allowed to use those apps once they learn their sight words."  I know..... you are thinking what I am thinking.  They won't need the apps anymore.  Sigh.

Other teachers say things such as, "I don't know how I am going to fit in the technology."  As if technology is some isolated curriculum teachers must cram into their day.  Technology is a tool, and a powerful one.  When used correctly, students can produce incredible work.  Their levels of creativity and collaboration can thrive in new and exciting ways.  In addition, technology can be used in ways that make the teacher's life so much easier if the teacher is willing to do things a little differently.  It just requires making some changes and learning some new things.  Yes, you have to put in some time up front.  But the time you save in the long run is immeasurable.

So how do we help move these folks forward?  When I go to technology conferences, I always hear presenters say, "Focus on the people who are ready to move forward and forget about the negative ones.  You won't have an impact on them."  While I see the thinking here, that's not fair to the students, is it?  We have to find ways to push these folks forward.  It's not about us as adults.  It is about the students.  We need to do right by them.  We need to get uncomfortable, and if that means making others uncomfortable as well, so be it.  It's about best practices for kids.  Not what makes teachers feel good.  I think it is possible to work together in supportive and positive ways in order to move teachers forward and do what's best for kids.  Don't you?

1 comment:

  1. I DO think it is possible to move those teachers forward in their tech practices. But, a bit part of it is how you approach it with them. There may need to be someone lighting a fire under them to mandate a move forward (admin?), but I think you get best results when you also have someone there as well meeting them where they are at to get them to the next level. Sometimes it can just be that one practice that they get down that can open their confidence to move into other things as well. Isn't that how we should work with the kids as well if they are struggling with an aspect in the classroom?... laying out next steps from the place where they are.