I am pulling my hair out with admins about what exactly should be covered in an IT curriculum. Half of them can only see a PC or Mac as some kind of magical typewriter that does not require White Out and magically sends out letters without a stamp. I keep trying to tell them that in a few years even typing will be gone, as we know it. (Thumb typing maybe, but QWERTY touch typing is becoming less and less essential.) And all they want to see is PROJECTS...ah...and when do the kids actually learn to manipulate the MACHINE...global Windows skills and learning to SELF teach from the Windows system. "Oh the kids should master Office 2003"...really? That's nice...problem is Office 2010 is coming and 2007 was a shock to most of the admins whereas my kids had no problems because they have intuition and can self-teach in nearly any program. I am really thinking strongly of leaving this field because it's a daily battle.

Any advice or ideas????

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Hey Merle
When I started, I taught K-8, which just about buried me. 800 students, too many lesson plans. But it sounds like you're doing that. How'd you make it work? I had such grand plans that first year and then huzzah'd when they cut me back to K-5. That's about what I can handle, though I miss the sophisticated material I could intro to the olders.
Impressive program...how often do your classes see you? I see each class once a week for 45 minutes x 36 weeks = 27 hours. Take out ten minutes for typing skills, and it leaves me 18 instructional hours per year for ALL IT skills.

Teaching integrated projects should be done in a netbook classroom, not with the IT teacher. The admins do not see this. She wants me covering social studies, math, English and science on a PC in 18 hours a year.

My classroom teachers, at least 80% of them, do not know what a URL is nor can they use the right mouse button.
My admin wants only projects taught during my 45 minutes a week. Doesn't work when the kids don't know how to type, how to fix the monitor when it doesn't turn on, how to use links and toolbars. I almost lost the class this year, but they kept me one more year. Don't know what made them change their minds.

I had a fifth grade teacher complain because he wanted his kids to do a project with Movie Maker and it took him four hours to teach them the program before starting the project. If that isn't an argument for tech skills in a lab setting, I don't know what is.
This is EXACTLY the BS I am talking about. How the hell can the kids build a video for YouTube if someone has not shown them the very basic skills within the software??? An art teacher once said their most dreaded word was POSTER. As in "we need posters for the school dance"...NO NO NO making posters is NOT good art education. "I want the first graders to write a story and illustrate it by next week" ...okay fine...they are still learning the keyboard, they should not be using WORD before 3rd grade. (BTW use PAINT with kids...they can create some great stuff with only a few skills) WILL SOMEONE PLEASE REMIND THESE IDIOTS THAT THESE MACHINES WERE DEVELOPED FOR ADULTS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD?????

I am about to go into real battle over this basic premise: it's about PROCESS not CONTENT in the computer lab. You want content, then you talk to your classroom teachers about creating projects in their classroom with their kids AFTER the kids have learned the basic processes.

Okay...one more time...THEY DON'T GET IT.
So do keep me up to date on how that meeting goes. And, for that matter, your year. I go back next week. Sigh.
Perhaps this isn't the best place to rail on administrators' lack of vision (then again, maybe it is). I understand your frustration - anyone with passion for a particular subject is bound to feel disappointed when their passion is not matched by colleagues. I would love to get my fellow teachers more involved with Web 2.0 applications, but if I just show them a bunch of cool things and tell them how important it is for the students - they won't show much interest.

The most effective strategy I've found is to choose one, simple application and show teachers how it will make their lives easier - without completely changing the way they teach. It took me almost a year to get some other teachers to use Google Docs (we have the education edition for our whole school), but once they started using it, they loved it. Every once in a while, I'll show a couple teachers some new things. Sometimes, they are interested and other times not. Either way, I think it's best to just meet people where they are - not try and get them to use all the things you do.
Good points, Mike. Except that in our case, there is no consequence for NOT being able to be savvy with IT. No requirements..." they'll figure it out"...no time given to me to train them. We are exponentially falling behind. One day at lunch someone asked me what Google was...in the year 2009. Her son does all her required IT work at home for her such as report cards, emails, etc. He goes to college this year. What is she gonna do?????

Sorry bloggers for venting here...I've found no other place like this. It makes me feel better

I am hireable...can relocate...anyone need a kewl IT teacher who kids love to work with????
Mike~ I totally agree and that is ALWAYS my message as a teacher who uses this stuff. You cannot force it but you DO NEED A CARROT. If there is no reason to do it, my experience is (as a teacher) that many (in my world, most) teachers will not change. I believe that admin has to provide the carrot to have significant change. To provide the carrot, in my experience thay have to really appreciate the need and value. In my personal experience, ( and I am not trying to rail on anyone-- just keep it real based on my experience) admin as well as many teachers do not really see the gap we have in ed and therefore they do not really appreciate the importance. Focus is on the day to day issues/probs and not so much the bigger picture.

In my opinion, change is needed at all levels and the admin as admin should be leading the way. In my part of the country, teachers are all we hear as the problem..."Teachers need to do this,, and that,... and need to lose this, and that"..... In business, the focus would be on the top-- managers as well.

So I agree with you, but do think admin needs to lead and motivate.

As a teacher, MY motivation is that I gave up alot to become a teacher and I want to be the best I can be. I am not happy when my at risk kids are dropping out and feel like they are failures. As a result, I use anything and everything I can to make it work as best as I can. I work with many teachers who share my committment and motivation. When that is not the case, however, I think leadership needs to do something else and add a carrot to help the kids.

Sue
Hi Jack,

I suggest you use the NETS for the students and the NETS for administrators as a tool to shape the program.
See what the admin think about the NETS for administrators. :~)
http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=NETS
I went over this website, albeit quickly, as it was shoved at me by my admin. I don't see any time-facility factoring in their theories and concepts. A HUGE portion of planning a curriculum is how many minutes per week the children get pure IT training. In my own case, it is 45 minutes per week = 27 hours per year (45 x 36 wks). Fancy projects are all well and good...when are the kids going to learn right clicking, file creation, uploading, and other basic Windows and Mac global skills???? thanks for the NETS link but frankly the site does not address how the TIME issue faces the CONTENT issue. Maybe I missed it.
He Andy

I wondered the same thing (about where kids were supposed to learn mouse skills and keyboard skills--basics) when my admin told me they were going to get rid of my lab and move tech training into the classroom. How's that work? Where do the kids learn the problem solving (check power to the CPU, Ctrl+Z is undo)? Which program is right? I have very happy parents and I think they interceded, because I got another year of lab-class collaboration.

Anyone out there know if it works to teach the basics while you're going through a project? Sounds like each would get in each other's way. Like the Whole Language stuff California taught for a while that didn't work.
I think you need to do both. I have been using tech in projects and have had to teach skills as I go along with many students who are behind the rest of the class. It takes time which I don't really have and it would be great to have a push in tech person to help with my classroom needs just as I have for special ed.

I just do it myself as best as I can and the other students do help as well. I generally do them as group projects for just that reason to promote collaborative learning.

Have you folks ever seen this video? It is a great study on kids teaching themselves. I have it in my training moodle.

The kids part is about half way through if you don't want to watch the whole thing.

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