Fellow Classroom 2.0 Colleagues,

A post was submitted by a member of the community expressing frustration with not having working computers. Here is what was said:

The problem in my school is that the technology is not always working and not every room has the same amount of technology equipment. The first step is to make sure that there is an equipment standard. Once all the necessary equipment is in the room, then implement your program.

As we really discuss Web 2.0 and all the potentials of it, I know that there are still concerns about the fundamental challenges when infusing technology into the classroom and they are as followed:
•working computers
•unwilling teachers
•unclear visions of the role of technology
•finding time
•lack of resources
•lack of funds
•lack of support
I can go on. But I won't ;-)

One question that will lead to much discussions (I hope). What are you doing in your district or just you to address the above concerns?

Please share your strategies.


Antwon Lincoln
Confessions of a Technology Leader Podcast

Tags: 2.0, computer, development, frustration, staff, support, web

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Wow..I'll never complain again! Hope things are on the upswing for you.
Our district (30,000) kids does a great job in providing the hardware--new machines every three years. My 500-kid elementary school has 3 student computers in the classroom, 2 labs, and three wireless carts. Now, if kids in the general classrooms actually used them for more than typing and powerpoint and testing, we'd be set!!
After our computer lab was dismantled to make space for classroom, we went a few years with no technology at all -- just broken down PCs scattered about the building. A new principal came in and quickly secured some state grants that allowed our school to move from the lab model (drop your kids off and leave) to the rolling laptop model (bring the tech to your classroom). This has been coupled with new desktops for all teachers, but even that is now a few years old.
What we are missing is more professional development and a tech coach to help teachers understand the integration of tech into their curriculum.
There is no easy answer to the question here ... access is a critical piece of a comprehensive technology initiative in this country. Too many school districts use their technology in a space which is then used for standardized testing, blocking out teachers and students from using it.
I suspect the impending budget-tightening now under way will mean little new funds for technology.
Kevin
comes down to consume someone else's content or comment( as we are doing here) or create material from the diverse usual sources.

the apple is a creation machine..the netbooks are consume/comment machines eg forget movies!

the appropriate tool for the job is only way to go with entrenched approaches, if money is not the issue but education and curriculum then it's a different answer to the question
I look for and have found low tech and high tech examples for teachers. I'm trying to emphasize change in practice and encouraging the teachers I work with to emphasize higher order thinking skills and how tech is used as a tool. It seems the misconception of tech for some is that technology a silver bullet that will make it all better and become frustrated when it goes south because the lesson was poorly constructed.
The one item that really jumped out at me in your list of the challenges to effectively using Web 2.0 was the phrase, "unclear visions of the role of technology". I think everything else hinges on this.

A related article that supports this idea: CoSN. Digital Leadership Divide: Without visionary leadership disparities in school technology budgets increase. Washington DC: CoSN.
Tammy hit on a very important point. LEADERSHIP. It will take focused leadership on every level to help move the vision forward.
-Community Leadership
-Classroom Leadership
-Site Leadership
-District Leadership
-Business Leadership
-State Level Leadership
-Federal Level Leadership
and you!

If you have time, the report that Tammy brought to this discussion is fascinating. CoSN. Digital Leadership Divide: Without visionary leadership dispa... Check it out!

Moving forward will be challenging. But someone needs to lead the way.

****************
I am loving the ideas on this discussion, and encouraged by the challenges. Keep them coming. The community is benefiting from your willingness to share. If you know of anyone who could benefit from the posts of those who contributed, LEAD THEM THIS WAY. We just might be on to something!

Thanks
Antwon
Here are just some ways our school district has been addressing some of the issues you bring up:

•unwilling teachers:

Last year I was hired as a technology curriculum integration specialist. A big part of my job is to help show teachers how technology can be useful to them in the classroom. A big part of this has been helping the late adopters find ways to first integrate technology in their own professional and personal lives. Not everything I show teachers has to do directly with how it can be implemented in the classroom. I also try as best I can to let teachers make their own classroom connections with technology. I find if I spoon feed people integrated lesson plans that either they never get properly implemented or the teacher's scope of application for a specific tool becomes too narrow.

•finding time:

This was a huge frustration for me last year. As part of my contract I was supposed to offer voluntary tech training in the mornings before school. At best I would have 1-3 people attend these sessions. Usually it was just the superintendent and I. What I found was not so much an unwillingness to learn new technologies or integration strategies but rather the time was more valuable for teachers who were already stretched too thin to be used to prepare for their classes. I decided to move this online. Now, instead of offering sessions in the mornings I make myself available in this time but send out weekly recorded lessons either using YouTube or Screencast-o-matic. When I did that teachers could assess the session anytime they wanted. I found asynchronous participation to be 5 times more effective.

We also implemented an online teacher training program where teachers can complete online modules related to technology integration that are constructivist in their approach. Teachers completing a module come away with self-created resources they can implement in their classrooms. They also receive a stipend after completing so many modules in this training. This has made tech PD more efficient.

•lack of resources & lack of funds:

Last year I was able to triple the number of computers we had in our building through computersforlearning.gov. This program provides surplus and used government technology equipment free to schools. We found free computers still in very good condition from the Bankruptcy Court, NASA, NOAA, the IRS, and the Trade and Patent Office. These machines came wiped clean so we had to install all of our own software. This also was no problem since there is enough quality open source software out there to satisfy most of our student's needs. We are also pushing cloud applications which are also free and not dependent upon one particular operating system.

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