Chris Craft made an excellent point in our discussion yesterday:

After all, this is about the kids sitting in my classroom right now, and what is best for them, where best is defined as supported by research, best practice, etc.

This has been echoing in my head ever since I read it.

I agree and support this sentiment.

But I feel compelled to point out that driver's ed teachers need to know how to drive. Part of what makes a great teacher (correct me if I'm off base here) is that s/he is able to take a collection of tools and make them work in astonishing ways. Books, boards, crayons, computers, whatever. Learning a tool so you can require your kids to use it because it's a "best practice" is like being "one chapter ahead of the class in the text."

I'm not saying that this is what Chris is advocating, but I think it bears emphasis. If you don't "own it" and if you don't "use it" yourself in your own learning -- you ARE still learning, right? -- then most of this Deuce stuff is the gray paint on the naval frigate. Makes them blend in with the rest, but doesn't help them float.

I appreciate the sentiment that a teacher can't waste time on practice that has no merit, but if you don't know it yourself, then how can you know? What's the value of putting a computer in a classroom?

None if you don't turn it on.

Little if you only use it do to "normal" things.

Priceless if you do something surprising with it.

By definition, "surprising" isn't a best practice.

And you only get to "surprising" by owning the technology yourself.



Views: 38

Comment by Kelly Christopherson on April 12, 2007 at 3:40pm
What do you mean by "owning" technology yourself? Truth be told, I've never build a computer. Don't really care about the insides. But, I can work any piece of software put in front of me, with a few exceptions. I've worked with servers within a school and division. I've looked at many of the different things available now, some I like, some I find frivilous and some will be useful in the future. But there are things I don't own about the technology. Things that I'll never own. So, if you put computers in a classroom, ask teaches to begin doing some simple "normal" routines and then add to their repetoire, you will encourage them to use the tool more often. The more you use it, the more comfortable you feel and the willing you are to try. When my computer wouldn't boot after I brought it home, I didn't open it up. Instead, I took it back, they gave me a new one and off to the races we went. In the same way, I wouldn't expect teachers to fix the computers or know what to do with every problem but I would expect them to know to tell the lead teacher or me so we could help. I wouldn't expect them to find all the websites on a particular subject but I do expect my librarian and lead teacher to work with the teacher to build a collection that can be used. I don't expect teachers to build webquests but I do expect they will be able to find one and then identify a good one. If they are unsure, I expect them to ask for assistance. I don't expect them to use the interactive whiteboard all the time but I do expect that they will begin to integrate it into their teaching, growing as they get more comfortable. If you don't do anything until you "own" it, my car would never get out of the driveway, I'd be living in a tent for another 20 years and I'd never have received the education that I have. Instead, I'd like to see it used like my 15 year old is learning to drive. She has people with her with experience but she has to get behind the wheel and push those pedals. She doesn't own anything. I don't equate the teachers with the driving instructor but instead with someone learning to drive. In their specific subject area they may indeed be the specialist but they need assistance to drive the new technology. That's where people like me, my lead teacher, our IT person and other support people come in. We're the Driving Instructors. As for the kids, they could know a lot or they could be clueless, each class I have is full of each. Some will never "own" it while others will surpass their teachers and drive at INDY. But they all have to start!
Comment by nlowell on April 12, 2007 at 6:18pm
actually you're making my point for me.

you have to know how to drive or you can't be a driving instructor. you don't have to own the car. just own the skill. you don't haave to own the computer. just own the skill and knowledge to use it.

just like driving a car, there are various levels of skill. that's why you get a learners permit. and why you do a little studying before you even do that. it's so you can learn what you need to know to most effectively apply your skill.

in the Deuce, I hear teachers, even my own colleagues wanting to know what the technology will to for their practice, for their kids. there's not any good answer for that because it's THEIR practice.

until you know how and what something is, until you take the time to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge -- until you *own* it -- you can't really say.

I can't imagine trying to teach without these tools. But that's my practice.

Your mileage may vary.


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