Yesterday I wrote about my session epic fail. Don’t worry, I’m over that!
The thing that made me feel the worst, though, was a glimpse of a session evaluation. I know speakers aren’t supposed to look at them, but they were on the table when I was packing up and there it was in the comments section – “This could not be done at our school.”
That really made me sad. I try in the session to include a wide variety of examples of students taking charge of the technology at their own schools. Some are long term, some are just a day’s work. There are elementary students, middle school and high school students. Schools with refurbished computers and schools with one to one everything. There are ways for students to work alongside adults in every situation to make the technology use more effective school-wide.
So. how could this person think that simply asking young people to help out is impossible? What kind of school climate does that imply? I wish I could find that person and ask what they meant – are the relationships between adults and students at your school that broken? Nothing I said had any relevance to your school?
But I think the best question would be – what vision would it take to convince you to even try?
6 Replies to “This can’t be done in our school”
I loved the last line, What Vision would it take to convince you to even try? So many people in education are beaten down and those in charge lack the vision to see how wonderful our students are and how competent they can be at helping the system with their technology issues. Vision and willingness are two of the most important factors that we keep missing in education.
Wide spread awareness needs to occur before the sparks of innovation catch fire. Disney channel, PBS, Nick, the endless number of online kid games need to inject examples of educational innovation. The kids’ expectations could have a much stronger impact than even the most passionate of adult’s vision. Only positive media can do this. Pointing fingers in blame and hunting for failures is the wrong mindset. Sharing examples and askinghow we can improve moves us forward. We need to build community. Parents will not understand a dramatically different education system, kids have fresh minds that aren’t bound by functional fixedness. If kids see engaging practices, they will ask questions. Parents will have a frame of reference. Teachers will have guides to help see what innovation looks like. Awareness is the first step.
Mike – I agree that kid’s vision and expectations can lead the way – however, in most schools, the power structure is too far out of balance for that to be the first step. It’s up to educators to stand in as the “student voice” so that opportunities are created where students can develop their own. It’s a process that takes time, so it’s incumbent on the adults in the system who believe in the eventual outcome to nurture and grow it as best they can.
I feel your pain. I led a session on Discovery Ed at one of our district in-service days earlier this year. It was held in a computer lab where teachers had time to explore the site when I was done giving the overview of the new features. Only elementary teachers were in the session, so I could provide clear, applicable examples for integration in the classroom.
When I looked at the feedback, there was one teacher who said that this concept was ‘not at all applicable.’ I too, wanted to know who this teacher was so I could find out more about her curriculum. She was the only one, out of dozens of teachers, to say that the content wasn’t applicable at all.
So I wonder…did I not show enough diversity in my examples? Did I allow for enough exploration time? Was it something I did/did not show, or is she not ready to accept digital resources as part of her instruction?
Your question at the end – “What vision would it take for you to even try?” – best summarizes the situation. Some teachers focus on the lack of technology resources as well as their own lack of knowledge. They may also be closed minded to anything that sounds too difficult. We can’t waste too much of our time thinking of how to reach these people. We have to keep encouraging the others who are open-minded and willing to try something new. When the close-minded person sees what’s going on around them, he/she may be intrinsically motivated to try something new. It’s in our nature to help all students ‘understand’ – but in this case, I feel like we need to overlook them in order to focus on the positives. It’s not easy though.
As someone who is currently a student teacher looking towards the future of having my own classroom I am constantly scouring the internet for technology application ideas. I want to learn what the latest and best in the field have to say and find ways to I take my lessons from alright to great. What I fear is ever seeing the day when I don’t want to learn new technology. I hope that day never comes but if it does I will know that is the day that I need to get out of teaching. We need to continue to grow and change the way that teaching occurs if we want to benefit our students. They are not going out into a world that existed 20 years ago, they are going out into the world of today, and today’s world looks far different than even the world that existed 5 years ago. My hope is that the teachers that do not want to learn the technology are simply putting up a smoke screen and that they really are going back into their classrooms and sharing their new knowledge with students.