What factors inhibit the use of web 2.0 by educators? I need lots of perspectives!

What are the factors you see that keep people in education from regularly using web 2.0 applications such as Google Wave or Docs, Wikis, Delicious, or Ning?

Consider either using web 2.0 with students or with colleagues.

What barriers, fears and/or concerns do you perceive others may have?

I am doing research on this topic.  Please weigh in.


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Great points! We need that!

Counterpoints:

1. Web 2.0 needs not be directed to the students. Simply by using them as a teacher, it can make certain tasks easier or more effective, like faculty collaboration.

2. Why should schools be out-paced by technology? Effective uses of technology are likely to SAVE money. E-books instead of textbooks would be an example. Are we honestly looking to change the paradigm, or are we looking for reasons not to go down the rabbit-hole?

3. Instead of keeping Facebook and other sites prisoner, why can't we accept them and train our students how to use them responsibly? A hammer can be either a tool or a weapon. So can the internet. I think we need to demystify the internet and look for ways to use it, not fight it. I reminds me of when teachers chastised or punished kids for reading comic books. Now teachers sometimes teach with graphic novels, because research show that reading them has a positive effect on reading ability.

4. I have an ADD son, and I guarantee that neither the internet, television, or technology caused it, because he had little or no exposure to any of it until about the time he was diagnosed. I will also tell you that without the access to Google and other sites, my child would now have a very difficult time learning in the traditional way. He loves to be able to learn things on his own. ADD may be caused by screen time for some, but the causality is questionable. For many kids, I think technology simply moves at the pace of their thoughts.

5. This one I agree with the most. However, most of the time I hear this, it's as an excuse, not wisdom. Teaching at it's heart should be about innovating and evolving, not stagnancy. Our school institution changes at most, slightly, every few decades, but the society around us changes (or at least has been changing) greatly year by year. It's the parable of the boiled frog. We tend to "wait and see," which I think is dangerous.

I appreciate your ideas, these are my 2 bits!
At my site, teachers seem afraid of change. I think part of it is that they don't want to be in a position where the kids know more than they do. The tech teacher and I have talked at length about this and are trying to devise a way to get teachers to at least look at some of the material on web 2.0. It is a major challenge to say the least.

Denise

www.ellteacherpros.com

www.teachingsuccesseswithells.blogspot.com
I've trained teachers on tech integration for about 5 years now, and I've seen a lot of resistance for various reasons. I'll try to briefly outline arguments that I've heard, along with my responses:

1.) "The old way works fine. Why change?"
The world has changed. When our students graduate, they won't be able to find jobs unless they have tech skills. That is simply a fact. We need to make sure we're teaching them these skills, if we really want to prepare them for their world. The school system, as it is now, was created in the Industrial Age to prepare kids to work in factories. That's not what our students need now.

2.) "I need to have all the answers before I teach it to my students."
When I taught fourth grade, I had my students create podcasts. To do this, I played a sample podcast, and then told them to open Garageband and make their own. Then I sat back. I didn't answer any questions, and the kids figured out the tool on their own. There was frustration, but they worked through it and found solutions. I really didn't need to have the answers for them and, in the end, I think it was better that I didn't. They learned more about problem-solving and inquiry by figuring the tool out for themselves.

3.) "It's all going to change in a year anyway, so why teach them any of these tools when they'll be obsolete?"
The key to good tech integration is to teach the SKILLS, not the tools. We don't teach kids to read every book they'll ever encounter in their lives. Instead, we teach them reading SKILLS -- phonics, comprehension, etc. The same goes for technology. We can't possibly teach a kid to use every tool he/she will ever encounter. But we can teach them the SKILLS they'll need to use those tools. Skills like not being afraid to play around with new tech, problem-solving, inquiry, creating engaging presentations, creating presentations for a wider audience, looking skeptically at sources of information, etc.

4.) "There's no time in my day."
With high-stakes testing and everything teachers already do, it's hard to add technology to the heap. Which is why we need to use technology to support our goals, not as an add-on. Case after case shows that well-implemented technology integration helps students learn content. I had my students blog for an hour a week and, after a year, their writing scores were 15% higher than their peers (the only curriculum difference was the blogging). Saugus USD, in southern California, saw a 24% jump in writing scores after they went one-to-one with fourth-graders.

5.) "We don't have the money for technology."
This is a biggie for me, especially since I worked in low-income schools with kids who didn't have access to technology at home. I see this as a major social justice issue. If kids aren't comfortable with technology, it will be nearly impossible for them to succeed in the 21st century. It's as simple as that. If we want our kids to go to college, to get good jobs, to be the leaders of our society, we MUST integrate technology. And there are a TON of ways to do it cheaply. I'm extremely passionate about this piece of the technology issue, so I recently started a blog, Stretch Your Digital Dollar, designed to help schools without the funding find tech integration solutions.

For those of us working with resistant teachers, I think we need to be understanding and patient, but extremely persistent. Because our students really can't wait for their teachers to catch up with them. The key to creating teacher buy-in is to convince teachers why it's so integral in their teaching. In my experience, once teachers are convinced that tech integration is what's best for their students, they will find a way to jump over all the other barriers. So how do we convince them? These two videos are a good starting point:
- Did You Know?
- TED Talks: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
This video also provides a good starting point for conversation:
I Need My Teachers to Learn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxHb5QVD7fo
I think fear is a major factor. There is a learning curve when it comes to Web 2.0 tools or any 'tech' tools for that matter in that many teachers are used to knowing how to do 'everything.' I think they feel inept when they do no know exactly how things work, but do not understand that they cannot possibly know everything. It is difficult for some teachers to understand that they are going to have to get over it and move forward because it's not going to get any better. Kids will figure it out whether teachers want them to or not. So the teachers can either jump on board or wait to get pushed to the side. It's up them, really. I understand how the teachers feel, but often times, those are the same teachers who don't make an effort to figure anything out for themselves. I that case, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for them.

I know I sound a little harsh, but for the last several years, I have been extremely patient. Our school does not have to deal with poverty, we have strong parent involvement, and we do not have amazing technology, but we do have resources if teachers want to try things. I can do everything, but do it for them. At some point the teachers have to figure it out. Hopefully they will. I think that is what we would expect of our students, right? Why should we treat teachers any differently?

Here's a perfect example of why we need to change - Open Letter to Educators
So, assuming (from the responses I see here) the key factors are:

1. Teacher fear and resistance

2. Economics (School, community)

3. Distrust of technological tools/ relevance

then, what are strategies to overcome them, presuming there is a good tool or strategy that would certainly be beneficial?
I should start by saying that I am just beginning to learn and use the tools available. Prior to my enrollment in a course of study concerning technology I can say the 1. Fear - was a big factor for me and 2. Unreliable, outdated technology - was another 3. I didn't know what was out there or how it could be used in my practice. Collaborative tools in the classroom- who knew? Not me a year ago.

I think that in order to overcome the first two issues you listed in a particular school or district it may have to be a partly "top down" approach. I can remember in my district when pay statements and staff meeting agendas began to be emailed to teachers. Many teachers were fearful of this yet when push came to shove everyone set up their email and now are use to checking it on a regular basis. This is not to say that there was not a lot of grumbling at the time but now I never hear anything about it. It has become part of our job and nobody thinks much of it. It would have to be gradual with support of administration, higher ups and other teachers. As for the third issue of distrust and relevance I think that some teachers, like me, don't even really know what is available or how it may improve their practice. Teachers need time - time to learn about the tools, time to discover how the tools work and how they can be incorporated in a meaningful way in the classroom. T
I hate to say it, but fear.

Inappropriate content on constantly updating content galleries that you see on some of the cools webapps. I like that Glogster and some others have opened up Edu companion sites and would like others to do the same.

Requiring email addresses for opening up a new webapp accounts is a pain in the lower grades. It would be nice if we could come up with some kind of universal design standard that would allow teachers to enroll students under a classroom account. We could have the "Classroom20 Compliant" seal.
Firewalls.

My students can get past them; I can't.

I have to go through tech support and get a site or resource approved. Although tech support tries to get back to me within 24 hours, they don't guarantee anything for 4 business days.

In 3-4 days I may have forgotten why I wanted that resource approved or I may have missed my window of opportunity/teachable moment.
I totally understand this frustration. Content filters have always been a big problem for me, and I'm a techie. I've heard a lot of ed-tech specialists argue against them altogether. And, I have to say, I agree.

All of us have had problems with content filters before. In addition, I feel that having the filters makes teachers lazy (I know they made me lazy). We don't teach our students how to act appropraitely on the Internet, how to avoid "bad" sites, what to do if they stumble across inappropriate content, etc., because we don't have to. If we're not having these conversations with our students, many of them aren't having these conversations at all. What happens when they enter a world without content filters?

Yes, a school without content filters might mean that some students access inappropriate content. But that's a teaching moment. (And, in all honesty, it really doesn't happen very often, from what I've heard.) School is a place where students should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. Content filters prevent that.

This might be a bizarre metaphor, but I relate it to my childhood growing up in New Orleans. As a kid, I would walk down streets with bars, strip clubs, etc. My parents were forced to have conversations with me about what those places were and why I probably wouldn't ever want to go inside them. When I was 15, we moved to a house on Bourbon Street. Had I not had those conversations with my parents, I probably would have been curious about all these new places and probably would have explored a few. But I wasn't curious -- I had seen all these places before, my parents had answered my questions, and I was prepared to just walk on by.
I am naive about the strictness of filters in schools. If I need a site unlocked, I just email the tech guy, and he does it, no questions asked. I do think filters probably are necessary to filter out porn and that sort of thing, but I do really oppose blocking social networking sites like Facebook.

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