Is the technology being developed for use in our schools, currently heads above what most teachers understand and could effectively use in their classrooms? And if this is so, should it be used? And if it is to be used, how should it be used? What would be most effective for the instructor and the class?

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I agree with your statements, but to ask teachers to fight with technology they barely understand would be counter productive (If an educator is interested they will learn).

But many chose not to learn because of the few tech minded within almost any school will help. As well, companies need to start making significant strides to make the technology more intuitive, and especially point and click. Example - even what some consider a basic easy-to-use program such as, which would help departments share resources has taken many teachers in our school through a huge learning curve.

So I question, should we be embracing new technologies and pusing the limits outward, when teachers still use SmartBoards for nothing more than PowerPoint and Movies?
"I would make a counter-point that if the students need the material or the technology would improve the overall quality of education that the educator should not continue with their career if they are not interested."

I agree that teachers need to be lifelong learners, however to assume that teachers need to be lifelong learners of technology is unrealistic. My understanding of the new collaboration abilities would remove the need for it anyway. Example - in your group 1 runs the wiki, those good and finding resources do, those who like writing objectives do... and so on.

Overall, I just feel that the technology that we currently use and assume teachers should use needs to be almost invisible. (I am thinking of a blog I read not that long ago, however cannot quote it). The example used is the electric motor, originally devices were attached to motor to get them to work. Now the device is everywhere and we do not even realize it. That is what needs to happen with our technology for most of the teachers out there, then we will truly see technology used to its fullest. Many teachers do not have the time, or resources to constantly upgrade every couple of months when the newest application hits the street.
Yes, yes, (question 1 and 2) I agree with several things that have been said so far. I agree with indigo "The teachers who are willing to embrace new technology should not be held back by those who really need to step up or step out". I would go one step further---money, machines, gizmos, and support should go to the people who use technology in the classroom. Make it worth the teacher's time spent learning to integrate.

I'll say this to rile up the masses--- phooey to the people to don't use it---remove the hardware from their classrooms. (just kidding, but not much)
First of all I would like to say that the initial comment provided was to generate discussion, so I also hope I am not offending anyone. But back to the discussion:

In response to Indigo -

As for invisible technology, I agree to an extent that it is invisible for those that know how to use it. However, the point is not for those who already understand technology, but for those that do not. For example, I know how to make an electric motor, so in theory I could create a blender to make a smoothie. However someone who does not know anything about electric motors can also make a smoothie and probably make it better. Technology needs to be that seamless for everyone before classes can start receiving the full benefit of what can be offered.

In regards that newer is always better. Our district has used many grading programs, and is currently utilizing GradeLogic from MIG Sirs. Which is constantly being upgraded and entirely web-based. But a dinosaur when compared to older versions of Integrade. I agree that teachers need to get out of their comfort zones, and explore new approaches, however newer does not always mean better.

In regards to Nancy -

The allocation of resources needs to be re-examined within schools. Should technology be given to the teachers that as Indigo says do not even know what a right-click is (simply because they have taught there forever). Or should it be distributed to the innovators of the school so they can freely share what they have developed for their classroom.

As a technology person still using blackboards and chalk, watching others with whiteboards (by the way, in our district you do not get a smartboard until you have whiteboards (two year wait list on whiteboards)) and smartboards it is disheartening to constantly have your brain picked when you are equipped with resource from the 1950's.
In response to the new teachers refusing to embrace technology, while working on my Education Degree from the University of Alberta, I was fortunate enough to be a lab assistant for a course that was teaching teachers how to use new technology in their classroom. I can firmly agree that I have never seen a more stubborn bunch refuse to learn.

However I agree that we both have come to a consensus on this topic, however I do have a new question brewing...
Conversation at lunch yesterday--

20 year veteran:"I took a weekend class on blogs and wikis"
Me: "great, let me know if you want to do a classroom blog, I could help you set it up. I bet you could have a wonderful parent communication tool in 5 minutes a day." (I'm hoping for some enthusiasm and interest in starting a tiny project)
Young 30's teacher: "Most of our kids don't have computers at home."
Me: "Well it would be great for the kids who do, and I bet you'd be surprised how many of them have computers." (amazed that they'd never bothered to ask)
20 year veteran: sits silently
Young 30's teacher: "well, you'd still have to do a hard copy of the newsletter" (not realizing they could be one in the same just c/p!!)
Me: sitting silently
Young 30's teacher: "...and it's just one more thing on our plates".
Me: sitting silently screaming....thinking.....if I hear that comment one more time I'm going to scream....
End of conversation.

This is typical of the reaction I hear from so many teachers and I'm sick of it. I spent 7-8 years as a national (NECC) technology presenter, I was exceptionally good at it and loved doing it. A couple of years ago I threw my hands up and quit. I'd heard "when would I find the time?" once too often and was done. I do wonderful things with my students and hopefully they will grow up to be teachers who do wonderful things with their students, cause it ain't gonna happen before I retire.

Tom: brew away....
Nancy, where I work, we required teachers to blog in September, 2005, and still do. We're a small district (2400 students), but we have found it was a very interesting experience.

Does everyone blog every single week (as required)? Not always, but the trend has been... a good one. The response from parents about the communication was awesome. We had teachers asking for student blogs... and this week we started our own in-house social network.

Your experience in the lunch room isn't unlike things we might hear. We heard about making paper newsletters and the blog both. Our superintendent at the time said: Quit making paper newsletters; print a copy if the blog if the kids need it!

I think a solution might be gaining administrative support for these new tools. Every teacher doesn't need to use them, but there are so many positive things that can happen when they are used and explored.
That's why I stopped eating in the staff room...
To Indigo-- Don't get me started!! BTW, I had to start a new thread, we ran out of room.
My new Brew is on the front page and deals with our assessment strategies versus our current forms of instructing students. However back to this topic which has actually started debate:

I am not agreeing with teachers saying "Where is the time", however publc institutions have constantly been asked to do more as the family unit does less. Teachers need to find time to balance their current demands with new requirements. This would be greatly helped if new technology was invisible as stated before. How to do it, I do not have the answer. But the more intitutive a program is, the more people will use it.

As an example, I have lead our Math/Science and Humanities department heads into the world of for sharing resources between the members of their departments. The initial lesson took 5 minutes, and now I will be presenting to each group about how to use the program, and use it effectively. I feel the reason why this program has been embraced is that they already understanding Bookmarks, and the simple icons placed within their browser makes it that simple. Some will use it, some won't but it is a start.
I like the car analogy.

However what if the problem is perception. I would agree that most of the software has a standardized format, and runs basically the same (Somewhat tech minded person opinion). However does the common person share this perspective? Just had a 5 minute debate about Mac versus PC with a student teacher, and their argument of one over the other was solely based on the perception of what is trendy. If the common person has a different perspective why? Is it a software issue, or how new ideas were presented. I teacher LAP (Learning Assistance Program), and they can talk and discuss difficult complex issues, however I need to find the right way to present the information. Is that what we need to do with the reluctant teachers?
Sorry, should have clarified more. The Mac Vs. PC issue is about perception of technology, nothing about the technology itself. And how that perception can be used to influence what people purchase and why.



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