I know it’s Monday of a short week, which means, of course, that all hell is breaking loose, but I decided to do some edblog surfing while eating the really “fresh” salad (with a couple of baked potato halves smothered in cafeteria cheese) that I scored for my daily, relaxing 10-minute lunch, when I clicked back to David Warlick’s post about conversations and how they’re growing out of these new technologies (which are slowly becoming transparent) and started reading through the comments and stopped cold on the one left by Jeff Utecht (who I just got a Gizmo request from and will be calling in China as soon as I can figure out the time difference) because of the almost audible connection that a few synapses made in my brain when he wrote this about the teachers he’s teaching about technology:
[A] problem I’m facing and I think the point you are making is that teachers, for the most part, just want the tool. They don’t want the conversation. My class is about the conversation and not about the tool and I keep getting teachers coming to me and saying “So why can’t we just learn how to use it?” They don’t see the need for conversation; to them it’s just another thing they can use in their classroom and not something that can, if used in such a way, revolutionize the teaching learning process. Until we realize the conversation is more important then the tool, we will be stuck in a 1.0 world.
And I swear my brain just went “zzzzzzzzzzttt” when I read that (as in sparks, not sleep, even though the potatoes were a bit heavy) because what I think most people don’t get when they pick up these tools is that to use them well they have to want to be learners, not just teachers. This isn’t like a textbook or a worksheet or a (fill in your one-dimensional outdated teaching tool here). This is a conversation, (or at least the potential for one) not a monologue or some contrived negotiation of knowledge that ultimately gets tested against what’s been written in a textbook somewhere. Teachers who use them well have to be willing to learn new truths about the material they’re teaching, and be able to contextualize those truths and make them relevant to their students. (I can hear the groans now.)
Welcome to teaching 2.0, which while a lot more fun, is also a lot more work than teaching 1.0. The question is, are we up to it?
Gordon Brune says
I’m perfectly “up” for giving it a shot (and I think a lot of others teachers will be) as soon as I can have a class set of Internet accessible laptops as easily as I can have a class set of pencils or a class set of black & white composition books. Access needs to be cheap and easily replaced when it breaks. Look what teachers have done with pencils and notebooks over the years! I’m keeping a close eye on the “$100 laptop” movement!
5th Grade Teacher
Dana Huff says
This post really resonated with me in much the same way it sounds like it resonated with you. I think a large part of the problem with integrating technology is the fact that it does require learning and changing the way we teach.