What do you think the biggest hurdle is to teachers integrating even the smallest amounts of technology in their everyday practices? Lets discuss this and then the approaches to overcoming the hurdles.
I'm laughing to this quote. I tell my parents and students that I try very hard to never teach in the class. I try to create a need for them to learn and to access TRUE experts. I'm a bit of a rennaisance woman in that I dabble in everything a bit, but they need to talk to people who are IN THE KNOW whenever possible.
“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
– Albert Einstein
Michael ...I love this quote...it also is a great sagway to my reflections on this whole discussion...
As an administrator what do i need to do to provide conditions where the staff can learn....
So here are some thoughts about what I have read...
Fear/ time...2 biggies...but in the interest of solutions
What is my role as an dministrator?
I think I must help provide the time ...faculty meetings need to be streamlinesd to allow time for curriculum devlopment...so buisiness/announcements are put in writing rather than taking 30 + minutes they take 5 for clarifying questions
I have to find creative was to give time...maybe I have to evaluate anything I put on the teachers and giet rid of as much " busy" work as possible...even if it is just a temporary respite so they can learn this new thing...
I agree with the coments abour viwing ourselves as professionals and talk regularly about the doctor dentist example...professional reading is not optional... we also need to think through the process ..it is read write web...I tried to start the teachers blogging before I started them reading...mistake
I have to give the teachers permission to fail....learning for a digital immigrant will involve missteps...as we know even n the traditional class some lessons work some do not
As for Steve's idea... I think it is great...we have to learn by dong...that is how we overcome inertia. I would say that even 4 days is probably not enough though...
Whether you are a fan of Reading First or not it has worked for us but the reason is because it involves sustained and ogoing coaching mentoring and professional development...It is a three year process with a week long summer instruction piece, half day support groups throughout the year and onsite mentoring, modeling and coaching... I could never have effected the level of growth or sustained it effectively without this structure.
Those of us who are in this pioneer stage will need to be the models, mentors and coaches.....
If I could invent solutions, I would do the following:
1. We need to move or nudge the system somehow to accomodate the Web 2. 0 schools so these would be my system wide changes.
Use Textbook money to purchase educational materials and provide PD for teachers and administrators (change the law if your state prohibits this)
Change renewal of certificates for teachers compelling them to learn 2.0 technologies. Renewal of certificates requires 12 hours (you pick the number of hours) devoted to learning with 2.0 tools. Unless we offer some institutional mandate to change it will not happen or will take decades to happen. Learning the new tools is part of their professional certification requirements.
Time: Create early dismissal days eg. One or two Wed afternoons kids are dismissed to allow teachers to meet in their department groups to go over and discuss student work and talk about assessment.
These are not easy things to do and my pessimistic side says it won't happen. But we say we care about students learning, I know everyone reading this post cares about learning and teaching, why can't we change the system?
It will happen one school at a time...
We have already diverted textbook money to 2.0
We dismiss at 12:15 every Wed for staff development and curriculum
I need some new administrative tools that reflect 2.0 to help support this; in a nut shell here is part of a post I put on LeadersTalk
If I am serious about change and about embracing 2.0 in all of its permeations then I think I need new tools that are designed to look for different things when I am giving curriculum and lesson feedback to support the teachers. I need to provide the faculty with new rubrics and new models to help them measure their own growth. How do I encourage excellence in this new model? What does excellence look like? Can we help each other design those new instruments?
So my questions in practical terms become-
* What should lesson planning look like for class 2.O?
* What should the long term planning look like?
* What should I expect to see in a walk through?
* What standard should I use for formal observations?
* What elements of lesson design and assessment should I be talking about in staff meetings?
Lesson Plans/ Plan books and Formal Observations-
My experience is that teachers have mastered the art of getting the basics down in a plan book mostly as an exercise for the administration. To that end about a year ago I said enough …what I really want you( and the students) to know is what your objective is for the lesson today. What will students know or be able to do at the end of your lesson that they did not know or could not do before. It was well intentioned but perhaps not as effective as I would have liked and it too became a wrote exercise.
For formal observations most teachers at least at the K-8 level fall back on the 7 step lesson plan or a variation thereof. Does this model still work? Or is it tied to the idea of discreet pieces of knowledge that can be taught in 45 minutes?
We still need to make those 180 days count and so there needs to be a focus for each day but will I see an anticipatory set, review, whole class instruction, modeling, semi independent practice, independent practice and closure? Should I see this?
I think that one of the most serious hurdles is school administration.
If the school adninistration is not part of tech culture, doesn't use it in running the school and for that matter their lives, then they will not initiate or support the adoption of technology based instruction. They will not allocate the funds needed for program development or for hiring in-school staff responsible for initiating and supporting constructivist learning with a technological interface. I have read many studies which showed that having administration committed to tech-based instruction is a necessity for having it implemented throughout the school.
Another hurdle is having a curriculum based on "old fashioned" testing assessment. When standardized tests which primarily measure "fact ingestion and retention" other than thinking or creating are used to measure student and teacher achievement, then teachers are not willing to "waste their time" "playing with computers" when they could be having their students "cracking the books" in preparation for their written exams.
Here in Israel, one of the high school subjects that has many teachers using technology-based instruction is English Language (EFL) instruction. I believe that one of the reasons for that is that the matriculation exam requires doing a research project and orally defending it, which counts for about 20% of the English Language matriculation grade.
In our school all the students are required to carry out their English Language research as part of a structured information literacy program and publish it online. This year they all are posting on a class wiki and getting formative feedback from classmates, staff and collaborators in Montreal, Canada.
One of the Engish teachers whom I worked with on one of the projects (far from a "digital native)" had to say the following near the end of the project:
"I would say that this became a project that engaged the minds, skills, and hearts of our students. It turned the English Bagrut project into an international research, writing, thinking, and teaching opportunity."
This years projects (still in progress) can be seen:
I believe the main obstacle in using technology that teachers think they have is time. My opinion is that it is not the time, it is the focus we need to deal with. Are we focusing on the way we teach or the way we LEARN?
I’ve become very interested in the theories behind Lesson Study. In lesson study, the focus is on how students learn, not on how teachers teach. Teaching improves because the focus is on the outcomes, not the presentation. The presentation of the lessons improves as teachers critically observe how the students deal with the material. This approach readily lends itself to integrating technology.
I think when I work with teachers to integrate technology, I am not there to focus on improving their teaching. I’m there to enable them to see how technology affects Learning – their own learning, and their students’ learning. When we get that microscope off the teacher and onto the learning, teachers feel more enabled. Teaching does improve, but it improves because we’re focusing on the learning and on how the technology enables both teachers and students to become better learners.
Back when the PT3 Program was in place at colleges and universities across the U.S., Tom Carroll presented a graphic that modeled what great technology integration did for classrooms. It puts the project, the problem, the issue – whatever, in the center, and looks at the teacher as the ‘master’ or ‘experienced’ learner, approaching the lesson as a learner along side the student learners. I find using this approach to be very helpful.
None of this will change until we change the fundamental structure of what school is. Having 30 (or 40+ if you work in my school district) students sitting in a room, all moving at the same pace, and trying to arrive at the same place (both pace and place not decided by the students) causes the flexibility which technology offers to become moot.
I believe that this is the underlying factor for the single issue brought up here the most, time. Of course you don’t have time to do these things. Theses tools fly in the face of what school is as we know it.
I think we all feel your frustration.
I think we all need to look at our individual situations and realize that we can adopt an external piece of technology (A lot of WEB 2.0 Applicatins especially) that can be used in some way. The ability to post something on the web that is an adjunct to a lesson or project is a piece of technology that does not nescessarily need to depend on classroom time and resources. Of course we also need to realize that not all of our students will be able to access this out of the classroom, so we need to emphasize in some cases that this is "Additional Information" that can enhance the lesson, but is not absolutly critical to completion of the assignment. Once again, those students who have the desire to succeed and excel will find a way to use the adjunct. But those who absolutly cannot access it will in no way be penalized or lack the knowledge to complete the lesson / assignment. Almost consider this like you would supplemental reading.
Mike – I’m not frustrated. I’m sorry if came across that way. :)
The fundamental point that I am trying to make is that until we reassess what school is, what it is to be a student and teacher, how we go about disseminating and creating knowledge for future generations, we will not have the change for which we are all striving.
As for you second point, I couldn’t agree more. You can ‘t penalize students for what they do not have access to. Far too often though we are penalizing students for what they do have access to (i.e. limiting use of cell phones and I.M. at school, blocked web-resources, uses of technology like turnitin.com to stifle online research).
For me it’s not a matter of supplementing, it’s a matter of changing the way the whole school game is played. I hope we can get there.
I have encountered several issues that get in the way of teachers using technology. The one that I am most disappointed in is when district administrators say dismissively,"I just don't know anything about that stuff." I cannot fathom high level education administrators in the 21st century not feeling a strong, overwhelming sense of urgency (if not dire panic) to get up to speed in order to not be crushed by the speeding wave of technological advancement! Too often, this ignorance causes policy changes as a reaction to student's inappropriate use of technology. But we aren't teaching them the proper, ethical way to use technology, either.
I hear the time reason and I certainly understand it, but I also see teachers savaging themselves in an effort to get National Board Certification and Master's Degrees. These efforts and sacrifices are made in some part, due to the increase in the pay scale upon successful completion. I guess we have to figure out a way to make embracing technology worth the teacher's time...
As for fear, a colleague gave me a quote to the effect of: I don't have to keep up, I just have to be open.
I live and work in Denmark and I would say that an added challenge is that most of the material (infomation, applications and discussions such as these) about Web 2.0 is in English. I think that ICT in education and specifically the use of Web 2.0 tools is not much talked about in the mainstream Danish media while the professional journals here all seem to be obsessed with terms and conditions and issues of administration. There are a few beacons of excellence such as Learning Lab Denmark which is into some really exciting research areas but your average Danish teacher does not seem to be aware of this. I also have the impression that Danish youth is not on Myspace or Facebook. I therefore feel that I must come across as a real oddball when I come with my weird suggestions about using blogs. The day that there is a recognisable stereotype of education which includes a PC/PDA/cellphone is the day that this stuff will be mainstream.