There’s a really interesting conversation going on over at Scott Mcleod’s blog about teachers who refuse to use technology. I titled this post “Taking Responsibility” instead of professional development because it it’s not just about PD, especially not about school-provided PD, which is often the complaint teachers make about using technology. “They tell us to use tech, but then they don’t train us.” Would you say the same thing about teaching your subject area? I do think that schools have some responsibility to provide opportunities for pd, but that teachers need to figure things out for themselves at times. And yes, that takes time, often time you don’t have.
My friend Alan Levine once said that you can’t and shouldn’t create a step by step recipe for people to use technology in their classroom. They need to experience it and live it and figure out the best way that works for them. Here’s his disposition on that idea, which is still worth reading today. I complained a lot about having to fish for people, or worse, as Alan put it, to create fish nuggets for them in neat little packages. As I was digging around my own blog to find references to these complaints, I saw a progression of increasingly feeling like I was on an assembly line rather than being valued for my ideas. So against my own philosophy that I left.
The culture I’m in now isn’t like that, though that’s not to say there aren’t a few who feel that someone should do the tech for them or just don’t use it because they don’t prioritize learning it. But mostly, teachers are figuring it out for themselves. I may lead them in a direction, but then they go off, do some exploring, come back with ideas and even teach me new things. I feel that we still have a long way to go in getting to a place where it’s just part of what we do without thinking about it too much.
It’s tough figuring out what to do about helping folks get this culture. Just telling them to do it doesn’t seem to work. Workshops aren’t always enough. Boot camp? Sending them out for conferences, especially edcamp like ones? Pressure from students and parents? Make it part of Ed programs? And how much do we push? What level of integration do we need to see before we feel like we’ve satisfied some level of tech integration? The thing is, you can’t stop. That’s what I think bothers people most. Technology changes at light speed. Just as no paper is ever finished–there are always revisions that could be made–you’re never done getting tech into your classes. I’m not using the same tools I was using 4 years ago. Some are the same, but I’ve added many more. And I keep adding more and dropping those that don’t work. Nothing is fixed. Not curriculum. Not technology. Not learning. We ask our students to keep learning. So should we.