Here is where we are and the challenge I see...
Good things are happening in the classrooms with more and more adoption of web 2.0 tools....somewhat slowly but all classes K to 8 are in there
However, the teachers are not techies and may never be... what I mean is many simply do not think in terms of turning on the computer and checking ning or our faculty blog or reading their RSS feeds or a shared google doc...They know how, they do it on occasion maybe in a meeting or maybe once and a while at home but it is not who they are....it is not what they think to do
This does slow us down but it does not stop us.... our grades and homework are online and available to the parents and students, voice thread has made a debut in K -2, 3-5 have reading mentors online and 3 uses moodle and the Junior High does lots....
So what do you think....
For the tools to be ubiquitous and for the students to fully embrace digital literacies do the teachers need to do so? If they do how do we get there?
You raise a really good point.
I am not sure. Two years ago, I may have said that the teachers need to be the experts, but now I am not so sure. If there is a colleague or tech facilitator in the building who can help the teacher introduce an assignment/project that uses the tools, maybe that is enough.
Good questions Barbara. I believe teachers do need to embrace the tools in able to consider themselves literate. Yet teachers have so much on their plates. I looked at 5th grade teachers in my state (Washington) and we have 192 Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) to address.
For example in Social Studies I need to address this GLE, "Explain how the slogan of “no taxation without representation” has influenced initiative processes in states across the United States." If I am true to the standards I have less than one day to bring my students to this understanding. There are 191 other expectations and 180 days to fit them into. No wonder teachers balk, especially at the elementary level, when someone puts more on their plates. Couple a plate overloaded with standards with wholesale curriculum that isolates subjects (I am thinking Investigations in math for instance) and you have a situation where technology is easily, and quickly, pushed to the back burner.
Back to how to change the situation. Research indicates that whole group training usually results in a 10% transfer of learning to the workplace (classroom). If the past few years are any indication, formal training in Web 2.0 tools hasn't translated into much use in the classroom. Washington's EETT grants have created the biggest change within my small school. These grants put the needed hardware in the classroom and then develop technology coaches from among teacher ranks. There is money for the 80% of learning that happens outside of workshops! This allows teachers to work together to integrate curriculum and embed technology in the process. The further I travel on my learning journey the more convinced I am that developing teacher skills and providing teacher (full time in the classroom) coaches is the way to change things.
One thought I had is a lot said at meetings does not need to be written down for all time! I wonder if that is part of the hesitancy?
We had a positive wiki experience when a group of thirteen of us got (virtually) together to write student IEP goals based on 21st Century Skilland the NETS standards for our elementary gifted program. It was a wonderful collaborative effort but we had a deadline and the parameters of the project were small. It saved us hours of meetings and a lot of idle chatting back and forth and the thirteen of us use the final project all the time. I wonder what goes on in a district, school or classroom that could be done this way to save time?
I think yo have a good model here but I have tried similar things using a collaborative google doc to build our school SLEs (Student Learning Expectations) and what happened is only a few contributed because the others just were not comfortable working that way.....
This discussion is paralleled in another group which I am part of and in that context I reflected as follows:
The early adopters are willing to take risks...and I think have some level of comfort with the digital world and networking....
How about the others?
Ever see a teacher print a blog because they need to have paper in hand?
How many teachers are willing "to do" if someone will show them how but they may not be ready to seek out the information or learn on their own?
Maybe that is my real question..how do we help others seek out information and learn on their own? How do we help them become comfortable and value things like classroom 2.0?
My theory is we, as admin, have to make them aware, give them some freedom, time, and back-up to have them explore and learn. Also let them know that they will try things and fail, keep trying new things, that is what makes great teachers!
Remember babara, I believe this and our admin is getting ready to start this process, so I could be wrong here, but we are going to try.
Nothing good happens by just sitting around. I think you will be successful because it sounds like you are going to make it happen.
This is clearly a subject about which there are lots of opinions. Good ones! My experience, as a teacher who's not afraid to try technology in her room, is that lots of teachers think they have to be "techies" to give this a try. I'm no techie. I'm just convinced that I can't break anything, and whatever I don't know - I'll find someone who does. Sometimes it's my students.
But there are a lot of teachers who are reluctant to admit in front of their peers that they don't know how to do more than check their email. One of our teachers has started a monthly breakfast meeting, where teachers come together in the computer lab. He introduces a topic, and then with several of us to lend a hand, the teachers play around with that one thing. That seems to work well - it's voluntary, so the groups are smaller and the teachers can get more personal attention.
Having the time to create is essential. If you introduce something at a meeting, can you give teachers time to play around with it - either at that meeting or another one? I think teachers really are interested, but as others have said, we're stretched thin. Some of us work on this late into the evenings or from home, but others have little kids, grad school, etc. in addition to all of the other teacher responsibilities.
There are many opinions here... and each makes a valid point....
In terms of time sometimes what I do as an administrator by making time for the teacher to embrace technology is really about letting them know this is a priority. There are so many requirements and deadlines as well as an ever growing volume of paper work which the teachers are asked to deal with...and at some point we have to stop the madness and prioritize.
This holds true for all jobs...and where we spend our time has a lot to do with what is deemed most important. Therefore if as an administrator I can build a culture with a common vision that says technology is important and a priority then the finite resource of time both at school and home will tend to focus there...