I recently attended the METC (Midwest Education Technology Conference) in St. Louis Missouri.  While at the conference, I attended a session that implied that teachers of technology specific classes are not necessary.  The presenter claimed that infusing technology into general classroom content should be sufficient to teach our children how to use and apply technology tools and specific software.  The presenter specifically mentioned Excel.  She claims that math and science teachers can adequately provide all information students need to learn the program and furthermore, we should be concerned with students' use of the program to solve the specific problem generated by the teacher and not be concerned with their overall knowledge of the programs features.  As a business education teacher who has taught a technology specific curriculum for 12 years, I was amazed at what I was hearing.  While I do believe these programs and tools need to be an embedded part of all curricular areas, I still steadfastly believe that students (all students) can realize a tremendous benefit from classes like mine.  I realize students can learn some of the features of a program through regular classroom infusion but I feel that my curriculum exposes kids to many possibilities that cannot be generated by an occasional user of the program.

 

What do you think?  Are technology teachers becoming irrelevant in education?

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I don't think technology teachers will become irrelevant, their purpose can be served elsewhere. Instead of teaching technology for the sake of the class, we can infuse the technology where it is necessary.

I speak from my own experience. I am a technology specialist and my role is not to teach technology in the lab, but to teach teachers how to appropriately use technology into the classroom. This includes offering professional development sessions, working with grade levels and/or individual teachers, and supporting them in the lab and classroom. It involves identifying a need, then finding ways to support that need with technology. For example, assessment is a big idea in our building. I have identified several resources that teachers and student can use. This offers them, choice as well as students and teachers understanding a purpose for using resources.

I also know in our district the move is trying to shift away from "going to the lab" to having the computers in the classroom.

Technology is so infused in the lives of our students today and we should support that infusion in our classrooms.
My district does have and uses Instructional Technology Teachers--but we only have 8 for a school district with over 20,000 students. The specialists are great for assisting classroom teachers in their endeavors to use technology in the classroom...and most of the classrooms in the district have at least 6 computers in each room. We also have several sets of classroom laptops that are available at most schools. I suppose my concern is that there aren't enough Instructional Technology Teachers to support our schools to justify eliminating technology classes. I guess I look at it like this...we teach reading and writing throughout a students educational career. We don't just give them a few basics and assume that they will learn everything else because they use reading and writing in all of their subjects.
Very enlightening point Liz. Teachers do assume students know all about technology after they have taken one course or were taught a couple of things.
How do you like the laptop sets? A neighbor K-6 school of mine loves them. I helped present at a breakout session at a conference at West Edmonton Mall a couple of weeks ago and one of the teachers there said it made her sad to hear me say, "When we go to the computer lab..." The staff there say laptop sets are the way to go. Me, I want my classroom to be a computer lab, and I can't teach without a SMARTBoard.
Roger that Liz! I teach Jr. high students MS Word, Excel, Power Point, Front Page, GIF Animator, Movie Maker, Photo Editor, Sound Recorder, Audacity, etc. While a few of them are minor applications, they help students produce a better product in the major apps like Word, Excel, Power Point and Movie Maker. They then are able to use these skills in their core classes and they do. I got our admin to make it so the Grade 7's are my priority. Once they have these skills they can use them throughout the rest of their Jr. high years and their lives. If all core teachers had the skills and time to teach their students these skills then it would be different. Right now they don't.
I cover just about the same material as you. I wish I had the same support it sounds like you are getting. We had a computer proficiency requirement in my district for many years requiring all students to take one computer class before graduation. They could also fulfill this requirement by taking one of the middle school computer classes. Unfortunately, my district decided to eliminate the requirement this year.

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