“They’re constantly in the process of being trained and being a lifelong learner,” he says.
The 'he' saying this is Jeff Murphy, a director of instruction for the Florida Virtual School and he's being quoted in a recent article from Education Week.
I cannot tell you how tired I am of hearing this sort of talk.
The last thing I want is to be 'trained' more. And, I'm sorry, but 'lifelong learner' has just worn out its welcome as a catch phrase.
I want teachers who are curious, experimental, sophisticated, and engaged. 'Lifelong learner' sounds like someone taking a woodshop class at the retirement home.
What we really need is to be recruiting more geeks.
I'm talking about folks who don't have to be 'trained' in using technology. I'm talking about people who live and breathe social media and don't understand how you live without it.
That's who we need to be recruiting.
Because that's where our kids are.
And -- even more importantly -- that's where the world our kids are entering into is.
It is painfully obvious to our kids that certain teachers have no clue when it comes to the integration of technology into their classrooms.
And more 'training' ain't gonna help.
Because before you integrate technology into your classroom, you've got to integrate it into your life.
And you should only integrate it into your life in ways that you need and/or want to. The worst thing we can do as a society is to force people into the use of technology -- particularly social technologies -- via training and tech mandates.
That's like forcing a democracy upon another country.
Not a good idea.
Rather, we should model the best practices in the use of technology and give folks the room they need to experiment with the tools so that they can develop personal relationships with them.
In other words: no two people are going to use Twitter the same way.
So don't bother 'training' teachers to use it. Rather, present it; model it; and then give the teachers the time and space to experiment on their own.
The same article cites Kayleen Marble, the lead teacher and writing specialist for the Arizona Virtual Academy, run by K12 Inc.:
“You’re competing with kids who are used to computer games,” she says. To pique students’ interest, Marble adds visuals to her online lessons, such as graphics and video clips, and creates interactive lessons that require students to click and move objects on the computer screen with a mouse.
Are we living in 1983?
We're actually talking about a 'virtual academy' whose idea of what makes a lesson more interactive is that students are 'required' to 'click and move objects on the computer screen with a mouse'?
No wonder there are so many books written about the illusion of the worth of technology in the classroom.
My twin eight-year-olds have their own blogs. We sit down together and play MMOGs. They compose their own musical scores with GarageBand. Do you really think 'pointing and clicking' is the key to engaging them? Do you honestly think they need to be taught how to use a mouse?
We need geeks.
We need them to tell us that we look silly when we talk about technology.
We need them to be our school leaders and not just our technology mentors.
We need geeks running the show.
And let me define 'geeks'.
Geeks are not techies who know nothing but computers. Geeks are 21st century folks for whom digital technology is naturally, casually, and obviously integrated into all aspects of social living.
Geeks -- depending on age -- grew up with a Commodore 64, and then a Nintendo, and then a Sega or an X-Box. Geeks learned to hack software in elementary school. Geeks have had MySpace and Facebook pages so long that they tend to forget how to log in to them if they are not on a computer with their password saved.
And there is no one type of geek.
There are Liberal Arts geeks. And Science geeks. And math geeks. And music geeks. And history geeks. And art geeks. And sports geeks.
Yes. Sports geeks. And lots of 'em.
Looks to me like the folks who are so terrified about 21st century style education just don't understand geeks.
We're not here to computerize and dehumanize you. In fact, we'd rather stop the bickering and let you do your thing while we get on giving our kids an authentic 21st century education. If you need a hand, let us know. But if you think we're going to tell you what to do, forget it. That's really not how most of us think.
We're not here to 'train' you.