Panel Topic #5: Technology decision-making in schools: The divide between IT and the classroom, and why is it so hard to implement new technologies in education?

Possible subtopics:

1. What is the “lay of the land” with regards to who makes decisions in educational technology. How does new technology get adopted in schools?
2. What a “technology coordinator” does
3. The interaction between instructional and IT departments that make implementation more challenging in schools.

Tags: office20con

Views: 79

Replies to This Discussion

Okay, now here's a can of worms. Because it is partly about leadership but it's partly about control. And it's about attitude. Can we empower without being gatekeepers? So many teachers in workshops I've lead tell me "I love this stuff, but it's all blocked at my school!" There are some who are completely against tech coordinators and tech directors (Gary Stager and Alan November to drop a couple names.) But there are a lot of enlightened coordinators and tech directors, many of my friends and colleagues and hopefully me in my past jobs. So my opinion is that there needs to be a lot more people involved and that the community grapple with these issues and that the tech coordinator/tech dir be part of this, provide a leadership role, but that the school and district think carefully about who makes the final decisions - and why.
Well, I have to wonder how much of this is the result of there not being a really compelling model for the use of computers in education. Meaning, for the past 20 years we've felt we needed to have computers available, but there wasn't a really clear model for why they should be there--and nobody could show that they actually improved education.

I'm very interested to watch the use of Web 2.0 in education because I think it has the potential to create a really compelling case for more ubiquitous computer access, and because the web browser is actually a pretty cheap platform--using Linux and Firefox there are really no excuses for not having more computers running, since a low-grade P3 that most businesses would throw away can run them...
Many of our schools use a third party company to screen and filter the internet. These companies have set sites that they blacklist but schools can request that these are whitelisted if they want to access them. The trouble is that it takes 24hours for the white listing to take effect and there is a lot of frustration caused by the number of useful sites that are blocked. A number of the web tools such as RockYou and YouTube seem to be banned in a number of schools though many schools are opening these back up again.

While I can understand that we don't want students accessing objectional material, I think that the current system is geared too much towards lockdown rather than teaching students how to manage their online behaviour.
I agree, content filtering, bandwidth shaping and a general lack of bandwidth is a huge issue! Regarding web 2.0, until this is resolved we are going to make very limited progress. The whole social cultural issue surrounding the internet and students managing their behaviour within this environment seems to have been left to chance with our current "lock down" profile.
I wonder what the framework needs to be to make skills in technology part of education, not just a tool.
"Technology decision-making in schools: The divide between IT and the classroom, and why is it so hard to implement new technologies in education?"

Having been a school technology coordinator and now as an instructor and educational technologist I have seen the the issue from both ends. On the technology management side the scale of the enterprise is often overwhelming. Too many old machines trying to do to much. On the implimention side I see the same issue with the added spin of too little professional development, no vision. Technology coordinators are in many cases not curriculum specialists so they don't have the necessary mental models for a school environment and even when they are; getting teachers to spend time on professional development, especially when it is after school is difficult. This is a complex issue, I think a good start would be / is with teacher training at the university level . Developing teachers with the skills and vision to see the benefit of technology use will eventually begin to change this paradigmn.
I'm afraid that too many teachers are far too unbending and lack the courage to take risks with anything new. Either that are they are unwilling to spend the necessary time to learn new skills, or scared they won't be able to. I've been a teacher for 30 years.......two- thirds of that time in a computer-free environment. Now I have a passion for learning with all of the tools that technology can provide. I work in a school that has a vision for the facilitation of learning with technology, but still there is a common reluctance to get involved. I don't want to wait and see, and I'm too impatient for the ripples to spread........while this slow progress is happening, students are being bored to death (in rows) and missing out on the excitement that could be generated by a teacher who "gives a damn". Harsh reality I'm afraid .............

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