Train (v) – “teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.”
From CDGW’s EdTech Focus on K-12:
In a recent survey by Education Dive, sponsored by Sprint, 86 percent of respondents agree that teachers in their district need more training in educational technology. Unlike Price of LAUSD, 41 percent of respondents say they don’t believe their districts have an explicit plan that lays out for teachers how educational technology can be most effectively used in lessons and curricula.
If you want to understand more fully the larger problem we have in education, it is this: just like our students, teachers are waiting for someone to teach them something rather than just going out and learning it.
I’m not saying there isn’t value in teaching stuff or skills or other things in the moment.
But to suggest that more “training” for some future lesson is somehow going to transform the use of technology in classrooms once again misses the point.
This is not about teaching. It’s about learning.
If we’re focused on building plans that “lay out for teachers how educational technology can be most effectively used in lessons and curricula” then nothing will change. Nothing.
I ask this a lot: Anyone know of a nine-year old kid who was “trained” to learn Minecraft? Took a workshop in Snapchat? Why should we be ok with adults waiting for a workshop?
If you really want to change things, focus on culture and on developing more kid-like dispositions in the adults to use technology to learn, not just to teach.
Don’t, as the CDGW article suggests, start by “making technology the focus.”
Instead, start by making learning the focus.
(Image credit: NWABR)
Jarod Bormann says
I completely agree with this, Will. There needs to be a massive line drawn in the sand between Training and Learning. I wrote a blog post about this as well. However, I would like to share with a model of Personalized PD I developed that actually fosters growth mindset and allows all teachers in a district to be Professionally Driven. Here’s my presentation at ISTE regarding it. Finishing up the first draft of my book now. Would love to talk more about it if you’re interested. https://www.periscope.tv/w/1OdKrwZalyVGX
Thanks for the post! I couldn’t help but connect this one to a comment I made on a later post of yours where I wrote that teachers should attend trainings to be able to have extraordinary use of tech in the classroom. It’s frustrating and I agree – we should be changing the culture of teaching and learning and go beyond simply adding technology to our old organizations.
However, we’re both teachers here. I love my students and I love my job but I swear my students can smell any moment of insecurity or discomfort (and they can feed on it… Classroom management is suddenly out the window). Incorporating technology into the classroom can be a huge step out of a teacher’s comfort zone, especially teachers who may not have the technological literacy to navigate an online platform on their own let alone with 35 eager learners to manage! We have overstuffed classrooms, lessons to plan… Technology comes naturally to children who learned how to navigate an iPad before entering middle school! I couldn’t imagine how overwhelming learning how to incorporate technology is for teachers who never had the chance to learn it naturally.
Yes, the focus should be on learning. I completely agree. But some teachers need that training as a push to be able to learn more. Just a thought! What do you think?
Jarod Bormann says
You are right. Do we focus on the Training or the Learning first? My philosophy is, empower teachers to self-identify the training they need as it relates to the pedagogical shifts they are looking to implement. Essentially, focus on where students are consistently operating in the lower-levels of Blooms. Now begin researching ways to move students in the upper levels more frequently. When you move students from lower levels to upper levels, 9/10 you will be including technology. Then a teacher is able to discover what it is they they, in fact, don’t know and look to tackle it further. So pedagogy first, technology second. I have done whole group trainings on tools, and it rarely works. Teachers don’t see a direct instructional need in the classroom, and therefore don’t buy into it. I’ve developed a model of Personalized PD that focuses on this kind of approach when it comes to training vs. learning. Here’s one website I created to help one district (tinyurl.com/centralcs). Also, here’s my presentation that I just gave at ISTE (https://www.periscope.tv/jbormann3/1OdKrwZalyVGX). Let me know if you have questions or find me on Twitter (@jbormann3).
I completely agree that it could be beneficial for teachers to take it more upon themselves to explore the technological tools that are available to them, rather than just wait for training. During the “waiting time,” the technology often ends up collecting dust in the corner of a room, and no one in the classroom (students or teacher) gains anything out of it–I am guilty of this myself. However, I also agree that some teachers can be intimidated by technology, and don’t know where to start. Self-exploration of technology takes a lot of time and effort, and I know teachers don’t have much time to spare. I think as technology becomes more mainstreamed in the classroom, teachers will become more familiar and comfortable with it, and more willing to embark on this learning and exploration.
Will Richardson says
Once again, I think we’re talking more about culture here than technology and teaching. If the culture were such that every person in the school were seen as learners, the fear would dissipate. If kids were engaged in doing work they care about, classroom management problems would be minimal. Much of what we’re talking about here are symptoms of a larger problem that deals specifically with the norms and expectations that are set out for everyone in the school.