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 agree with most posts that making a shift to a different way of learning (2.0) requires both motivation and time. I think a way to encourage colleagues to do this is to show them practical examples of how they can use wikis, blogs, podcasts etc in their teaching areas and then break off into small workshops (4-6 people) and set one of these up for themselves. Often people might see these kinds of technologies but can't work out how to can use them in a practical way in their teaching area.
The terms digital immigrant and digital native go a long way to bringing this issue into focus for me. As someone who has been married for nearly 35 years to an immigrant (from India), I have a kind of window into the world of immigrants but certainly had never really experienced it until I realized that I am a digital immigrant. There are so many things that natives take for granted that everyone knows--idioms, customs, where to buy band-aids, those kinds of things. Those things never get explained to the immigrant until frustration and/or calamity has been reached. ( I witnessed this to some extent when living abroad for two years but was in an expat community so the learning was not so harsh.) The same thing happens in learning about technology. The recent immigrants are struggling to figure things out and often feel just too overwhelmed to keep trying. The lingo is different; the others seem so competent whether those others are natives or merely experienced immigrants who have forgotten those first timid steps they took what seems eons ago; and on and on. The teacher who is trying to keep a class in order, keep up with the many demands from other teachers, curriculum guidelines, parents, administrators and so on and on and on can be understood to just throw in the towel when the going gets rough. And it does get rough, over and over and over agin. The smallest amount of integrating technology can be overwhelming. I am glad that I have stumbled past some of these hurdles and have some helpful peers guiding me. Nevertheless, I understand how difficult it is to be a recent immigrant, feeling lost among the competent, some of whom seem to just expect everyone to know and do and understand this brave new world.
Now that we have discussed all of the issues and looked at some hypothetical ways in general of how to deal with this, let's look at some practical Web2.0 examples that we can use.
So here is your assignment!
I would like you to create a lesson that addresses a technology topic. It can either be a piece of technology that is used by the teacher for prep, record keeping, communication etc., or to be an instructional adjunct in the classroom. Here are the parameters you must stay in:
1. It must be web2.0 based.
2.Your face to face time with a teacher is a one time initial 15 minute session. After that, your ONLY communication on this topic will be by email or chat that does NOT take up their class or prep time, so there can be no falling back on the time issue.
3. Being that this is web2.0 based, there are no excuses for not having the software, or computer power, or resources needed to complete the lesson.
4. Keep the topic light enough to be completed in a reasonable amount of time (1-2 hours, and this maybe too long), but make it open ended to be explore the topic further if the teacher has the interest.
5. Try and come up with something that techno-phobic teachers will be drawn too, and maybe spark the technology bug hidden deep within them.
The means to an end here is to create a pool of activities we can share and build upon. In the near future I will be putting up a moodle site in which to develop this resource further. But for now lets see what all of these overactive minds can come up with :-)
I sat last week and showed my teacher website (a Wiki page) to a fellow teacher who wants a teacher site of her own. She explained, and this is typical of many schools, that teacher websites must be created using a specific program (not user friendly) that is only loaded on one computer at the school, and the technology specialist must post all updates. It is no surprise that even tech friendly teachers don’t have their own web sites. So, this would be my lesson:
1. A page on wikispaces.com to be used as a teacher website
2. 15 minutes sitting with the teacher setting up the front page. The discussion tab can be used by the teacher to ask “how to” questions that I can answer or, for that matter, anyone can answer!
3. Wikispaces is free and upgrades to ad free pages are complimentary for teachers (students too!)
4. 1-2 hours is plenty of time to get a great looking teacher page up and running. Updates are very easy to do and the site is available for students and parents to see immediately.
5. Even “techno phobic” teachers can be persuaded to use a wikipage. Their weekly letters home can be posted online so other than the minute or two it takes to copy and paste, they are not being asked to much more than they normally would!
I see one potential issue with this, I apologize in advance but allow me to play an extreme devils advocate.
There needs to be some continuity among such pages in a district or school. There needs to be policies in place to prevent issues like posting of innapropriate information and things that go against district / school policies. The potential backlash from administration could be huge and have a negative effect on the use of technology by teachers.
I AM NOT SAYING THIS WOULD HAPPEN......... But the possibility exists.
So I would find a way to get buy in from the district and maybe a policy developed that would allow and set basic guidelines for the use of such an online adjunct. I am really not a party pooper but it is something to think about. The overall Idea is to create a community and make it spread. Share the vision.
Thanks for your thoughtful response and I too apologize in advance for venting a bit of my frustrations here.
I have heard these thoughts voiced many times and it concerns me. My concerns are not around the few teachers that might post inappropriate content (teach them and sanction them for repeated violations) but around the underlying assumption that teachers, in general, are somehow not responsible enough to create and maintain an appropriate web presence. How will districts move their teachers into a Web 2.0 world without that fundamental element, trust?
As a user of technology I find myself, as a teacher, with permissions much the same as a student. I can access a few shared drives that the students can’t but that is about the biggest difference. I cannot stop a print job, move a mouse from the right side of a computer to the left, or submit a work order asking for equipment to be repaired. I would love to be able to work through the districts server and have a web page with the same layout as my schools. This is just not possible at the time and I do not see teacher web sites becoming a reality for years.
I can’t wait for my district to provide me with training for Web 2.0 tools, it could take years! I did ask for, and received, permission to create a Wikispace for my classroom. My wiki page is not linked to the school district site although my blog is. I continue to be a vocal supporter of both wikis and blogs, advocating for the use of both across my district. I am not sure how long the current policies (or lack thereof) will stay in place but it is my hope that teachers will continue to be able to access tools like wikis and blogs and use them to build strong learning communities. I would be thrilled to be a part of the group that develops and maintains policies on new technology, but again, I do not see this happening in the near future.
So I leave with a few questions and a concern. How many more teachers are out there in similar situations but without permission to proceed? How will we move them into this new digital environment? Where are our Library Media Specialists and why are they not leading the charge for change? Time is not our enemy as much as the perception that we are somehow an “enemy within.”
It doesn't have to be a problem. When I read your post I thought immediately of River East Collegiate here in Winnipeg. 14 of River East's teacher's use Blogger or some other site to post assignments and keep parents and students updated. The pages all have different templates/looks/styles and besides the fact that they're all done by teachers, there's very little to tie them together. River East administration doesn't seem to mind that and has put links to the teachers' pages right on the front page of their site. It seems that the teacher who got it started (Rennie Redekopp) has been positively received by his division, River East Transcona, and has talked at PD evening to teachers from other divisions encouraging them to try something similar with blogs. It doesn't have to be all grim.
I guess my response was more to provoke a positive A move by a district to move towards a web2.0 community than to restrict the use of a wiki. I also was not suggesting that we make all of the teachers sites very rigid template like. By all means they should have personality and a unique look that makes them that educators own. However, there needs to be something that ties them all together as a community like we have here on Classroom2.0 (Thanks Steve :-) )
Well I surely didn't mean to sound grim, but that is pretty much the situation for lots of teachers out there. I would love to have even a rigid template like space within my district. Learning communities like this one are so rich and support a myriad of different needs and understandings. I am looking forward to the day when we can't imagine teaching without them. (ditto on the Thanks to Steve!)
Three things keep teachers from moving ahead with technology.
1. The Digital Immigrant Syndrome is FEAR (Most teachers above the age of 30 are simply afraid and don’t want look dumb).
2. The Time Factor (Many teachers don’t feel like they have time and some really don’t) Coaches for example, don’t have the time to embrace technology, teach, and coach three sports. Teachers that sponsor multiple school events also fall into this category.
3. Negative Attitudes – Some teachers aren’t going to do anything unless they are made. They have the attitude if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it..
The rest of the teachers will jump right in and embrace School 2.0 and technology.
And if this isn’t a good enough explanation, think about this!
15% of a school’s teachers are Movers and Shakers (e.g. They get onboard and embrace new ideas). They are the ones that jump right in...
75% of a school’s teachers are onlookers (e.g. they see if it works before getting onboard).
8% of a school’s teachers are clueless (e.g. they have their minds somewhere else)
2% of a school’s teachers are NotSees (e.g. they just don’t see the point and they have negative attitudes about everything).
15% of your teachers should get onboard, 75% of the teachers have the Digital Immigrant Syndrome, 8% of the teachers really don’t have time, and 2% of the teachers will tell you that they’re not doing it come Hades or high water! Forgive the last expression.
What do you think?
To fix this problem, we have to get the movers and shakers (15%) to convince, train, and mentor the onlookers (75%) and then the clueless (8%) will follow suit. As for the NotSees (2%) let's hope they quit or retire.
This is an interesting analogy, but I think the conclusion doesn't follow.
1. The early adopters (movers and shakers) are that way because the thrill and complextity of new things appeals to them. They are the exact wrong people to mentor the next wave (you called them onlookers). Late adopters change only when they feel safe and it's easy.
2. The digital native/immigrant cliche is a nice slogan, but serves us poorly in the long run. It becomes an excuse for teachers to hide behind. I think the proof of this is that we are seeing the first wave of "digital native" teachers, and they aren't the magic solution everyone hoped for.
Thanks for the comments. I really like your last sentence "I think the proof of this is that we are seeing the first wave of "digital native" teachers, and they aren't the magic solution everyone hoped for." So what do we do?