I know I am stating the obvious here, and most would agree the K-12 classroom is notorious for adopting technology much later than other sectors. But why is it so? Leadership? Lack of will? Case in point - even THIS Classroom 2.0 is so far behind the curve that we are STILL asking - "What is a podcast and how can I use podcasts to support my teaching?" .. Are we really this far behind the curve ?
We are behind when our school boards block us from using new technologies. It use to be because of budget constraints, now it is because of 'safety' concerns. How can we prepare the students for safe use of technologies without practice? I wouldn't give my kids the keys to the car without practicing with them first, why do we do this with social networks and other technologies?
I agree that we need to practice with the technologies ourselves before using them in our instruction. By practicing, we learn the potential pitfalls and benefits. Then again, I am preaching to the choir.
Schools are low-tech environments, so educators don't have the opportunity to see good technology in action.
My school district adopted a "new" on-line database this school year. It stores evaluation data and generates IEP's. It was initially created in 1999, and that is how it looks and feels.
The program does not allow me to import data files from the test scoring applications I use as a school psychologist on a regular basis. I must manually enter things in, and the test dates I enter do not automatically fill in the blanks. I even have to enter in the test date next to each SUBTEST!
If I had not returned to school to take computer courses, my feelings about computers would be very negative, given this sort of experience. If "productivity" software is this difficult and time-consuming to use, why would I want to explore technology any further?
By the way, TeacherTube is blocked from my high school.
Look at the risk/reward payoff for decision makers. If you do something that's better, you get a small pat on the back. If something goes wrong, you are in danger of losing your job because you have affected kids.
The systems reward safe decisions, go with the established vendor, don't rock the boat, stay in your position and you'll reap tenure and big retirement packages. Take risks, and the first time you fail, you lose a lot.
Add this to the fact that, in any environment, change is difficult.
"Our students are more prepared for the industrial revolution than any generation in history"
"Only 2 entities forbid the use of cell phones, The Taliban, and US Schools!"
Are we behind? YES! Why? Lack of Leadership is a good place to start. Our Superintendent doesn't know how to use email, that is what he has a secretary for. Our IT dept leader came from the business world, doesn't understand the first thing about education.
I really don't believe things will ever change under the present educational system. Do our students really need to know penmanship or multiplication tables? Do we need to teach them programs like Word and Excel?
My thought is that we need to teach them how to THINK and LEARN on their own. I really do not believe we can do that with our present system. Will it ever change? I don't think so, because the powers don't want it to.
Perhaps it goes back to two fundamental educational philosophies that have shaped our system -- essentialism vs. progressivism. With NCLB the pendulum has unmistakenly shifted back towards the essentialists. Both philosohpies have great merit and it'd be nice to see each understand the other. Technology integration in education is not curricular kitsch.
I agree with all of the statements being made, but wonder, what can we do about it? We have a significant number of educators involved in this discussion who have power to bring their schools/districts a little closer to a system that empowers students to use technology more effectively. What are we each willing to commit to? How can I make a difference in such a large system?
Complex systems take time to change and then the system has to prioritize and commit to that change. We know the education system does not have a cohesive plan nor a single vision of what those priorities should/could be, but that doesn't mean that we can't affect change on a small scale.
Steve started this group to bring early implementers together to give 'us' (I'll assume most if not all of us are that group, yes I know it's an assumption) a voice to organize our thinking, devise cohesive approaches to incorporating and making our classrooms 2.0 enabled. My challenge/question is how can we not only make our classrooms web 2.0 enabledbut bring at least one other classroom along with us? Anyone want to focus this conversation on possible approaches? or am I off base?
Our district used to be a leader, I was one of 17 Instructional Technology Specialists to help teachers. We did that for 6 years, then they cut us because after that amount of time they decided the teachers should know everything they needed to know. We saw a dramatic drop in computer usage over the next 2 years.
It takes an entire community to understand and tackle the problems. It does begin with the money to stay updated, but teacher training is a paramount piece of the puzzle. It doesn't matter how good your infrastructure is, if teachers aren't comfortable with it, it will not be used effectively.
Using hand helds and cell phones are a good example of your trickle up theory. Right now, few schools are leveraging this technology. I believe within 10 years, every student will be required to bring their cell phone (hand held computer). And I think parents and students will be the drivers on this issue. Today, schools are afraid because of the safety issues.
The good thing . . . things can only get better from here!