And that's how school started. I have a mystery bird who always writes these messages on the board. I know who this bird is, but turn your back on me and let it happen. But this morning I thought about it, because this week it occurred to me that I have been informed of an obvious and serious flaw in my decision-making.
This week a teacher approached me and asked me to help a friend.
"The best teacher I know has been "demoted" because she doesn't use technology. Administrators are afraid they will "get in trouble with the government" if they see she is not using any technology. Give me ideas to help."
So... no training... no advice... no help - just BAM - you'll be teaching high school, even if we know you're the best teacher we've ever seen.
It's always about what technology helps you, not the technology itself.
If you read my blog, you know I love technology and I use it with my students. But I find it disgusting and ridiculous.
Yes, we should help all teachers use technology, but it's about what technology helps you do what you do.
Does every class use paper? Have we judged classes that use less paper to be poor quality? There are ways to use technology in AP literature, but this is AP literature, not AP technology for God's sake.
It might require every teacher to use an ipad, but if you use it to hit a student in the head, does the mere presence of an ipad mean it can be used? A teacher without ipads who does not hit her students is better than a student with ipads who leaves them bruised. Will we really allow the presence of an ipad to determine the merit of the teacher?
I'm in a hurry to finish my new book, Renewing Writing Skills, as soon as possible for this particular teacher. But at the same time, use the technology where it makes SENSE
Commands sometimes throw away good sense...
That's what worries me about government mandates. Sometimes people take things and use them as an excuse to disconnect their brains from their eyes and blindly misinterpret the intent of what is happening. Yes, we should all use technology. For me, the most important question is... looking at the school, will a student come out with technological ingenuity? Will they be fluent in speech? Will they be able to invent and create using this? Can they learn using technology all their lives?
More importantly, how do children use technology?
Do they use technology to solve problems, or are computers primarily used to program children?
You know that's true. In some schools, technology is used everywhere and there is not a single ounce of creativity. Does that sound good with "the state"?
And here's a teacher who uses tons of creativity and avoids technology with almost a 50% approval rating in her AP class (much higher than other teachers in that school from what I've heard), and yet, for some reason, the fact that she doesn't use technology is bad. Does that mean anything?
Honestly, if you want kids to use technology, you have to buy them all the iPads and take them in your hands. It's the school's fault, not the teachers', if they don't put it in the kids' hands.
6 Visionary aspects of technology leadership
Technology is important. It's something all students should use. But the people upstairs have to be visionary:
To give all students access to technology.
2 - Properly train all teachers on how to use technology effectively (not just buy a subscription to the latest drill and kill software package and get enough treatment for it).
3 - Creating an environment where people can experiment and try out new things without fear (and where they can publish and share information with a wider audience, and communicate and collaborate with other classrooms).
4 - To have a vision that the school should have - to convey that vision and to own it when making decisions.
5 - Support great teachers and help them continue to thrive in the new era.
6 - Support students and keep them focused.
I trust that those of you who study this subject for a living will think more.
Arbitrary decision making often leads to a state of regret.
I am angry that such stupid and ridiculous decisions will be made and that technology will be the axe to grind a wonderful teacher out of the classroom where she and her students are successful. Arbitrary decisions like this have led to problems with education over the years.
Wake up the teachers and find a good application of technology in the classroom.
Technology is more important than ever, and I hope it will also be a campaign for teachers. If you could see your administrators doing this, it's time that...
Is the electronic rule being lifted?
Some will applaud this day when technology is being used as a rule to measure teaching... but honestly, teaching is the only rule we have to measure teaching.
What do children learn? What do they do with what they learn? What do they create? Can they solve problems in this area of learning? Are they learning habits that will help them succeed in the future?
Teachers, you can do it. Learn about technology - Twitter is a great place to start. Find a hashtag that matches your field of expertise. You can find ways to integrate it into your class. You can't do everything, but you can do something. It's important to do it for kids. But understand that if you don't do it, it will affect some of you very much. I can write all day, but it won't affect the back rooms where they make up such arbitrary mandates, and such a thing can come your way. But I've always found the best thing I do in class, I do it out of love for my kids, not out of fear for my own career. Good luck and success. They're swinging, teachers. You're important! Let's teach!
What do you think of that? Do you see those decisions being made elsewhere?