It's been two weeks since NCTE (National Council of Teacher's of English). Reading David Warlick's blog post this morning puts in mind of teachers using technology. Teachers who do and teachers who don't. Interesting post. Ultimately it comes down to doing your job as a teacher for Warlick. He says, " Teachers who aren’t using computers and the Internet in their classrooms with their students every day are depriving their children of the opportunity and the right to use basic literacies as working skills. You can be a good teacher an not use technology. But you’re not doing your job." How far removed from the reality of the classroom is this? How many teachers could actually use technology every day? At my school, a school with over 200 teachers and close to 4,000 students, I think we only have 45 LCD projectors installed in classrooms. We have two computer labs that are booked solid for students in reading remediation classes. Fortunately our media center has probably 50 computers available to for class use. Am I making excuses?
I don't mean to and certainly I agree with Warlick (for the most part anyway). Teachers need to use technology fluidly, seamlessly and almost unconsciously, but to do that they need to develop automaticity. I think that is part of the picture. I also think that teachers need to choose the tools that authentic instructional moments need. Technology and its use should be purposeful like reading is purposeful.
I use technology almost everyday with classes in the Reading Writing Center. The students who work in the Center are always on the computers when they do not have clients to help/coach, but the whole class demonstrations I do, do not always have a tech-piece, and at my school I'm a high end user. I am no where near Sara Kajden fluid use of Web 2.0 tools, but I aspire to be. So what's really happenening out there? How can teachers incorporate, use, model, demonstrate or make technology a daily workable skill for students if they lack equipment? or if school electronics policies exclude us from using available technologies the students have in their pockets or backpacks? Hmm.... just thinking.
On a different note, I just learned how to Skype! Skype is a free computer to computer calling program/platform. Once you sign up and download Skype you can contact other Skype members for free. If you have a webcam you can video conference. How cool is that? Kylene Beers and Bob Probst added Sara Kajden to their struggling readers session at NCTE and Kajder talked about the most amazing classrooms. Can you imagine using Skype to call authors and other experts to participate in literature circle discussions? Kajden works with a class in Virginia that does just that. It sounds incredible. I can't wait to become one of the million plus subscribers to their literature circle podcasts in iTunes!