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 would argue that time is NOT the issue. We all have the same amount of time but some of us use technology and others don't. Those teachers who don't use technology are just prioritizing their time in a different way. The time argument is an easy one to make because we cannot manufacture more time.
Motivation to change IS the issue. A teacher who is motivated to change WILL make time by shifting priorities.
Now, what affects motivation to change? In our local district there is no administrative expectation for teachers to use technology. In a neighboring district the use of technology is a part of the evaluation criteria for teachers. There is a huge difference between the 2 districts in teachers' desire to use technology effectively.
Another problem in our local district is the infrastructure is pretty weak and wobbly. Teachers are happy if they can just get email to work. To ask them to use something that requires reliable access to the Internet is asking them to take a big risk because they know there is a good chance the system will not be available.
We need to focus on things like digital storytelling, Inspiration as a writing tool, PowerPoint/Keynote, Excel, and other products that do not require Internet access until we figure out a way to make the system more stable. The whole Web 2.0 realm is out of the question for now.
My answer to the question then is that we need to work on the technology infrastructure and have administrators raise their expectations with regard to technology use. These 2 things would go a long way in the schools in this area. I would argue that there is plenty of help in places like this for teachers if they are motivated to learn and have a reliable way to access these resources.
"I would argue that time is NOT the issue. We all have the same amount of time but some of us use technology and others don't. Those teachers who don't use technology are just prioritizing their time in a different way. The time argument is an easy one to make because we cannot manufacture more time.
Motivation to change IS the issue. A teacher who is motivated to change WILL make time by shifting priorities."
Well stated, Ken! The issue of time has always been on the top of my list of hurdles to tech integration but something about that has always nagged me. Thanks to you, I now know why. A lightbulb...an AHA moment. Now the question becomes how do we create compelling reasons for teachers to want to reprioritize their time? I actually think we are finally on the right track with things like web 2.0 applications, Karl Fisch's "Did you Know" videos and the Buffalo Movie. What else?
Ok I think that 4 days is enough time to spell out the problem and issues we have in trying to train teachers to use technology when there is limited time to train them and reluctance on their part to take the first steps or waste precious time to during prep to integrate technology into already time consuming basic classroom prep. So what are the solutions USING WEB2.0 and it's constructivist approach.
What would you use during training with teachers if you only have 15 minute one on one chunks with them a week?
What ideas would you offer for self directed, student centered projects or training solutions that can be implemented in or out of the classroom with little if any effort
. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Let us rise to the challenge and complete the quest for this holy grail of knowledge!
first 15 minute block: With a one-on-one, in-the-room, prepared trainer, this should take no more than 5 minutes, leaving 10 minutes for them to play.
Add no more than 10 feeds
- 1 yours (cheat! you can write to them and give them short tips and tricks that they'll be able to find and you can follow up with when you see 'em in the hallways, etc)
- 1 bbc
- 3 education general
- 2 education field specific
- 2 their hobby interest
- 1 their choice
When everybody's got a 'gator....
Get them blogging. Subject: Metacognitive reflection about what I'm learning from trying to drink from the firehose
(link them together by putting a note on your blog welcoming each new member as they come online and putting their addresses in your link list.)
Introduce them to technograti and the other blog search tools so they can begin finding new stuff on their own. ask them to find ONE voice and write about it in the coming week.
Introduce them to furl/delicious/magnolia and the idea of folksonomy and social tagging. Strongly suggest that the get an account at ONE of them so they can begin collecting their resources for use whereever they're needed.
Stand back. Answer questions. Learn from them. :)
As for the students... there's no magic bullet there. Every teacher needs to learn the tools and figure out how to incorporate them into his/her own practice and recipes do not work there. It'll take time for them to incorporate it into their own practice. The thing to remember is that the students are already using these tools and are shaping their own learning.
I think you have a great framework for getting the ball rolling. I would also suggest that we need to rethink the role of the IT Department in the education realm. There needs to be a go between assigned to each school. Someone who is an educator and is skilled in the technologies of the moment. This person can act as the mentor, coach, etc... for the teachers and also serve as a guide for solving problems or figuring out a way to accomplish a particular teacher's goal. They could also better understand the technological needs of the school from an education standpoint rather than only being concerned with keeping a network up and running.
From my experience, the biggest hurdle is getting the teacher to do a mindshift. The teacher has to present him/herself as learner. I presume you're talking about a situation in which the teacher could use technology but doesn't.
We've started a service work program here at Emerson, called Kids Teach Teachers. Any teacher in the school can sign up with a need/wish/question about technology. The teachers know the question can be vague (like "What might I try, that goes with stuff we're studying," or "What do you suggest I start with, to get used to computers?") or very focused and specific (like "Teach me to make a photo show," or "Teach me about the uses of Inspiration for writing projects.)
To get started, I used the Edutopia video "Turning the Tables" to get teachers interested. Teachers felt more comfortable after watching that--you get to get a bit of laugh out of how we're such "digital immigrants" and learn that there's nothing shameful about this. After showing the video, I made a plea to the faculty, saying, please help me with this--it'll be so good for the kids.
The "so good for the kids" platform brought in a lot of customers. Teachers could feel they were giving their time to a good cause instead of feeling needy; somehow there's some comfort in that.
So, teachers email me or stop by, and I make a list of what's wanted, ask for volunteers from my class (a fourth/fifth grade class), and then assign a pair of kids to that teacher.
Our list currently has two teachers being taught about podcasting for use in the middle school, a teacher learning how to use iTunes, a teacher making an iMovie about how to properly do the strength exercises for gym class, four teachers learning how to use Moodle (an open source forum for schoolwork and discussion), and one teacher who needs help with email organization.
The mindshift that has to occur, simply HAS to occur, is in the teacher's head: It's ok--actually it's GOOD to present one's self as a learner. The starting point for us was in having teachers donate time to be the learners. In all cases, after experiencing how this feels, the teachers continued in this direction, and became more open to asking kids in general how to find and use the applications that help.
My educational philosophy is that teachers should be doing this all the time anyway, regardless of whether we're talking about technology or not. So in my case, no mindshift was necessary. But mostly this isn't the way education typically runs, so we work on this transformation as we go.
Hope this helps as one suggestion for how to go about things--
This is such a great thread and I agree with everyone's posts so far. I think another hurdle is the commitment by central office to integrating technology into daily instruction. In our district, when we make a curriculum adoption or a change to our classroom management system our instructional coaches or consultants spend massive amounts of time meeting with teachers, demonstrating lessons and performing walk throughs with principals. For technology, we've designated a technology lead teacher system which gives a $500 stipend a year for teachers to help teachers but does not receive the kind of commitment that other implementations receive. There is no accountability nor incentive for teachers to incorporate more technology in their lessons. My position (technology instructional coach) is to be voted on by our board next Monday (my current position is only temporary). Our state review indicated a need for us to be integrating more technology. It will be interesting to see if our leadership feels that this is important for our district.
Lots of great ideas here. And though I agree that saying there's not enough time is partially an excuse, I also think there isn't enough time. One thing our principal is doing is looking at restructuring the school day so there is more "built in" professional development time. We did some site visits and saw several schools that have it built into each week's schedule and would like to emulate that. Next year we'll also have several "late start" days each six weeks to create more time in the schedule. So I do think employing administrative support can have a positive effect.
We've been trying an effort this year as well with weekly trainings that our tech coordinator and I provide. They are short and sweet, and offered twice daily, just to introduce "possibilities" to teachers. Our efforts have begun paying off and the requests we are getting to support new projects is suddenly starting to explode. Our plan was to not overwhelm the teachers, but introduce one topic each week--like podcasts or wikis, or cool Google tools, and just get them interested in what is out there.
I'm really getting a lot of ideas from all of this solutions. Thanks for sharing.
I guess I will have another go at this. I don't agree about time. The way I see it, I'm pretty web2.0 savvy, I have a blog, use podcasting, blogs, wikis, writeboard and a few other tools with my classes. I work with teachers and try to mentor the ones who want to learn some of the tools. It's been 4 days since I've been able to do much with my computer because I've had no time. None. I was very busy coaching, disciplining, meeting, planning, correcting, parenting, being a community member and a host of other things that are important. So, were my priorities out of line? Was I negligent in doing my duty because I didn't do online work?
Sometimes, as people who use tools and are able to intuitively work with technology, we forget that for others using these tools is like me doing math. Even with all the right priorities and tutors and help, I still have difficulty. Ah, but with a computer and any program, I'm fine. Or how about that student who has a LD. Are they not prioritizing correctly?
My wife use to get frustrated with me because I would get frustrated with her for having to show her, again, how to do something like get email. Hmmm. I will continue to say that anyone who is an early adopter in any area has a knack or intuitive ability that surpasses most other people. Time is a key because it's not just adopting the technology but planning with it and adopting a 21st century learning mindset to go with the tools. So, I do take exception when someone says that if you just prioritize, it will happen. If that was the case, I should be a math teacher for all the time I spent with math. Not. I teach humanities.
Also, you can learn about something but can you make it part of a flowing learning process? That will take even more time because you will have to decide what you will change as the tools become part of the teaching you do. For me, I've gone away from PPT and now use online tools plus video, usually embedded. I have begun to use blogs for homework assignments instead of assigning a sheet and I mix my reading between online and textbook. I've also begun to shift from oral presentations to podcasts and different types of presentations, like call in shows, to have students use technology in a "real-world" type setting. With all this said, I didn't have to spend time learning how to use the tools. They came to me intuitively and I see where I can use the tools to give students a better chance at developing understanding. For those who can't do that, we better spend time and have support as they try to shift or they will get as frustrated as I do with senior math.
As an administrator, what I am doing is providing time to work with each teacher to develop, implement and support using technology in their daily practices. So, instead of tape recorders, podcasts. Instead of reading buddies in school, reading friends in another school and so on.
I've met so many early adopters who have said "But I don't know anything about computers" or "My kids know more than me." or some such things. That may be true but, more realistically, early adopters have an intuitive idea of how to use the tools, are not intimidated and don't have to spend near the amount of time as those who struggle. Ask any LD student. Priorities and drive and want are usually not the problem. Sorry Ken, but time is a factor from my experience. However, I have a young girl in my house whom you can discuss this with and maybe explain to her that if she change her priorities and get motivated, her spelling would be better and she could read at grade level if she gave more than her 1 hour a day of extra reading.
I too, use to think that way. I've changed my tune, considerably. As for, "It's the way teaching and learning are going, it's the future" idea, so is reading but LD students still struggle and usually try much harder than those who read easily. The advice I give myself "Not my place to judge their reasons or ability but it is my place to help, support and encour
The problem in my particular case is not money -- we have two great labs, and access is available most of the time. We have one SMARTBoard interactive white board per department. We all have classroom computers and projectors in our rooms. We have had professional development, but one or two sessions is not enough for most people to learn how to do any of this. We have community support. The vast majority of the students, parents, faculty, and community at large seems excited about some of things I'm doing with technology. The problem as I see it is that I basically taught myself how to do most of it, and a lot of people are not willing to commit to learning it. Our administration doesn't push it either; they prefer to allow teachers to teach in a style that is comfortable for them. On the one hand, I think this is great, but on the other, it doesn't push anyone out of their comfort zone into trying new things, either. I think that what we need to see is commitment to try it. I haven't really seen that yet. I think if more teachers could see how it will literally revolutionize what they are doing in their classrooms, they might be more open to it.