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 think that is an excellent idea. I like what you said--work with teachers and students. I think a novel idea is training them together on some projects. I also think some schools would be very committed to a model like that. We have more people that want training than we have people able to offer it, for example.
I agree with everything that has been said here and would like to add the fear of exposure. We are used to teaching within the confines of our classrooms, the thought of our work being up there for everyone to see can be very daunting, why expose ourselves in this way when we are not even sure of the outcomes.
I think we make this worse by suggesting to teachers that there is something shameful about mistakes (or looking stupid) in front of others. PD should be about risk taking and growth. Admitting you don't know, and being willing to make mistakes should be celebrated as important steps on the path to understanding.
I couldn't agree more. My Personal Mission Statement reflects this:
“To share my knowledge in a constructive manner with others, instill an ongoing need for excellence and life long learning in all I come into contact with, and consistently remind myself that failure does not mean failure, but only and excuse to grow and succeed.”
Exposure to parents who aren't always "getting it" or don't see the educational value of certain activities causes us to take time to explain, and explain, and get picked apart and criticized--whether or not you are letting people look into your classroom windows or at your blog. For hypothetical example, the parent of the boy in preschool who is incensed to see his son could try on sparkly butterfly wings in the dress up area (not trying to make him "wierd" are we?) and the parent who was "shocked" to learn that I searched and found their child's very inappropriate myspace because he had posted comments on the local bookstore's myspace--and warned him about my safety concerns--the parent being upset that I would approach the student about his out of school net presence, not at all worried about my concerns.
Both of these examples beg for someone to "educate" the parents, but sometimes, I need to spend my energy on the children and don't have the extra to offer to the rest of the world. Sometimes, the parents just won't get it.
Hopefully, though, as we gradually gain exposure, we will gain experience, reusable answers and explanations to go with our work, and a general level of support that will shift the burden from defending our practices to uplifting them.
For now, though, I worry that a simple comment anywhere (like those two fictitious examples above) can have strange and unforseen repercussions.
As in any marketing situation, we need to be enthusiastic about the benefits, such as student enthusiasm for being able to use technology, improved product through wiki collaboration, getting shy students to speak up through blogs, etc.
Also identify tech-savy students and get them on board to help out. There are student/teacher sports events, how about student/teacher training events. Teachers can get some one-on-one, students can feel good about helping out and the role reversal.
This is a really important strategy. Bring in the students. One of the strategies that I've heard mentioned at workshops, and one of the ones that is hard for me to do, is to let the kids teach me how to use the technology. Most classes could easily use PowerPoint, create websites, use discussion boards, etc, if the teachers are willing to let the kids show them how the technology works. In my experience, the kids figure it out much faster than most of my teacher colleagues.
Time and the fear factor are my problems. I"m working through active directory, which doesn't give me much room to download great open source programs on a whim for my kids.
I am one of two people in my building who is committed to integrating technology into my classroom at my school. I have an advantage because I have a computer lab to teach in, but I"m still feeling the pressures of testing and everything else, like having a lockdown for four hours yesterday, no power for four hours, and a bunch of kids who were really tired of me by hour number three. Did it take time to set up the wikispace? Yep. Did it take time to give everybody gaggle e-mail accounts? Yep.
My kids know that I am learning to use new forms of technology with them. I"ve told them that I'll probably make mistakes, and that they have to help me make everything we do kid-friendly and relevant for our curriculum, which is tested. I'm piloting all these new tools on my last nine weeks classes, so that I'll have it figured out by the time school begins next fall. I've got no choice but to plow onward and learn from the mistakes and mis-steps if I'm going to get my students ready for the 21st Century workplace with the skills that employers want them to have.
OK, this is slanted from the perspective of a Career and Technical Education teacher, but seriously, I don't have an official textbook to use, so why not a wikispace, podcasting, or video?
Constructivism teaches us that learning is best achieved when the learner is involved in constructing knowledge. With that in mind, we need to always encourage our students to bring something back to the table so we can increase our knowledge base. This is oh so important when dealing with Web 2.0. In fact if you look at the way wikkis are used it totally demonstrates this concept, and points to web 2.0 as a strong constructivist teaching method.
I attended a conference called stop surfing and start teaching (University of South Carolina) about 6 years ago in Myrtle Beach. I wish I still had this one presenters handouts on constructivism and distance learning. It really hit home. Using Blackboard for the last 4 year in a hybrid course (Intro to comp sci) I constantly applied constructivist methodologies to my lessons.
I just found this quote at the bottom of an email from Christopher Johnson, PhD 21st Century Learning Consultant that really hits home for web 2.0 “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
– Albert Einstein