Last night I got the chance to spend a couple of hours with about 20 graduate students in education at a pretty large school here in New Jersey during a class they are taking in educational technologies. We ended up talking about a lot of the shifts that are occurring right now, the tools, and the challenges that face them as they enter the profession. Now, I was really impressed with the level of the conversation and the sincere questions that they shared. But I was also struck by how much of a reality check it was for me, at least.
The general sense from the group was “yeah, but” once again. Yeah, but we have these kids who are going to abuse these technologies if we open them up. Yeah, but we’re going to be out there on our own if we decide to use these technologies. Yeah, but I don’t have enough time to make this a part of my own practice. Yeah, but, etc. (And please, if any of those in attendance are reading this, feel free to chime in.) At one point I said something along the lines of “you know, there’s a lot of pressure on you in my circles because many people think nothing is going to change until the old guard retires out and you guys take over.” Well, that didn’t float very well. I got the sense that most didn’t want to accept that challenge or felt it was just too daunting. And at another point, after going through a list of reasons why using these ideas were going to be difficult, I said “yes, but you know there is nothing stopping you from changing the way you learn.” Not sure how well that went over, either
I don’t mean to come across as disparaging to any of these students. You could tell they were by and large smart and sincerely interested in the discussion. But I guess I was hoping for more, though I’m also not entirely surprised I didn’t get it.
One other thing. A couple of them noted that this one class (which was an elective, by the way) was the only (stress…ONLY) time in their grad program that they had talked about technology in a pedgogical sense.
As much as I want it to be otherwise, the reality here is that we’re just not getting it done on so many levels.