Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Two Sides of Tech

It has been an interesting few weeks. We are rolling out our new gradebook program and I have had a great chance to work 1 on 1 with a bunch of teachers of varied abilities. It is interesting how many times I am perceived as a helper and a hindrance. To be more precise - I am helping them through their hindrance. However, most teachers are very happy to work really hard at something difficult, because they care about their kids.

What has struck me strangely through this process - is how often one question has come up: "Have you ever been in the classroom?".

It usually comes up as we start discussing how the teacher grades. I get the feeling that if I say no that they will give up all hope of me bing able to help them through the sometimes difficult task of setting up the gradebook. I guess in some ways I am lucky that I can say - yes I was in a Science or Music classroom for the last 10 years.

It is weird having to say that to people. Where I am coming from I was a teacher first in the building. Because of that I rarely was accused of not understanding the classroom teachers. Sometimes my staff was - but that was never directed my way. It is strange to see it now.

Anyway - I have been going through this experience and then I stumbled upon this blog trail. Is that a term? If not I want full credit for inventing it.

Anyway follow the links to see the back and forth...

When Teachers Don't Get It: Myths, Misconceptions, and other Taradiddle

When Techies Don't Get It

The Teacher’s Technology Manifesto

My “teacher’s technology manifesto”

The Start of the School Year

Technically Instruction

From the Tech Department


I have the perspective from both of that as a teacher that pushed the envelope with technology and as a tech coordinator. I have made some of the arguments on both sides of this issue. It really concerns me that there are tech coordinators out there in the world that think that teachers are out there just trying not to get it. I also am stumped as to why there are teachers that think that the goal of technology coordinators is to make them miserable.

My professional life is now that of a Technology Director and there are many times that I feel that I am the referee in the match between those in technology and those in the classroom. I wish everyone could see the conversations that go back and forth between the "two sides".

As if there are two-sides. There should be one side - one goal.

The kids.

What do kids need?

Tools that will help them succeed and adults that will help them add those tools to their tool box and teach kids how to use those tools.

What is a tool?

Any skill that will help them do more in this life than they could have without it. (IMO anyway)

So tools could be computing skills, or writing skills, or how to tell a good joke in a social situation.

We all have something to offer and we each bring it in out own way. What one has to offer is not better than the other. Not one adult can give every kid the tools they need. Other adults (and kids) can give staff new tools they can use as well. As long as we are willing to learn from each other. To do so, please avoid the following:

Tech People: Don't assume that just because a teacher is slower at picking up technology, or has yet to see a way to integrate that skill in to the classroom they don't think at some time it will have its place.

Teacher People: Don't assume that tech people don't have skills to offer. They might just have something that can help in your classroom even though they may not have ever been in front of one.

Everyone - remember why we are here and together we can make any difficult change in our schools work - for our kids.

1 comments:

Scott Weidig said...

Moose,

Keep up the good work and the guiding messages. . . While we have the "tech" part mostly in place, the integration part is most frustrating on all sides.

Remember, what was once taboo or outrageous, becomes accepted, then becomes the norm, and finally the expectation...

Scott