Monday, October 19, 2009

Not trying is not an option

The other day a teacher in one of my classes, was clearly overwhelmed with trying to learn how to integrate technology effectively. After perusing a couple of the course readings she realized many of the ways she had been using technology were at best limited in scope, and at worst, a waste of time.
She posted a message something to the effect that there was just too much to learn, too much to know, we should just stop trying to integrate technology at all and let students learn it in a few dedicated courses in HS.
Whoa! This is certainly not what we are learning in the course, which is how to effectively integrate technology. My reaction was from the gut and it follows.

I disagree that we should avoid tech until HS. Students need to have tech woven into the curriculum as just one of many tools used to teach the content. The fully integrated use of the tools will allow the skills to be absorbed without a lot of teaching of tech skills, instead they will come along naturally while the content is being learned. You don't have to teach skills to this generation, set them in front of tech and tell them what you want them to do and learn. They will figure it the tech parts. Trust me!

Avoiding tech because you might do it wrong is as bad as a student saying they are not doing math because they might do it wrong. We all learn from mistakes and hitting the pitfalls. We learn and move on to a higher level of success with each and every mistake. Not trying is not an option for our students, why would it be an option for us?

I pointed her to my previous blog column called, Living on the Edge vs. Living by the book.

How do we help teachers who have little to no technology in their classrooms, very little training in effective integration, and minimal knowledge or personal uses of technology in their lives get past this hurdle? I understand being overwhelmed. The more I try to find the cutting edge the more I realize the level of my own ignorance. I have been trained in, have used, and am an advocate for technology in education, yet I feel overwhelmed. Imagine what millions of teachers must feel like when we are discussing Twitter, blogs, cloud computing and they are still trying to figure out the address book in their email software? I look forward to suggestions, concrete baby step suggestions, to help out our teaching corps!

Yours in ignorance!

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