Sunday, January 10, 2010

Thoughts for the Day

A teacher recently commented to me that nothing about ed tech mattered to her because she was in a school that didn't "have technology".

That's like saying that fuel efficient cars don't matter to me because I can't afford one.

First off is the matter of the re-appropriation of funds and availability of cost-effective solutions. Historically, the price of technology drops... you could drive over to your local big box store and buy an iPod Touch -- a device that will connect you to the greatest information resource humankind has ever assembled -- for the cost of a few textbooks. Rather than write off reality because your school is unaware of it, instead work to educate your admins and advocate for the technologies that your students deserve to be using as 21st century citizens. You work on getting devices in the hands of your students, I'll work on re-allocating my own funds and saving up for that Prius.

Second, your students and teachers alike are carrying more tech in their pockets than we could ever afford to give them. Bring those cells, smartphones, and mp3 players out into the open. Bring the game systems to school. Let 'em use them. Let 'em share. Use your imaginations. Figure out new ways to learn.

Another teacher complained about how fearful all the laws and bureaucracy have made it for teachers. Many admins have created a climate where teachers fear that to use tech "incorrectly" will cost them their jobs.

Two thoughts: 1) If the problem is the law, then petition your congressperson. We're adults, let's cut the crap. If a law seems like it has gone out-of-date given new technologies, then it's time as a community to revisit the law. Granted this takes time; but so does sitting on your hands complaining or going out of your way to hobble together walled gardens that approximate the usage of perfectly effective technologies that already exist in the public square. 2) Use common sense. If everyone followed the rules and did everything "correctly" we'd never have the Digital Age to begin with. But that doesn't mean we need to condone idiocy. It all comes down to being honest, understanding your battles, and doing what ultimately is in the best interest of your students and of the future.

Whether resource or procedure: use your limitations to your advantage.


  1. This makes me think of the UK standard for rail vs. the what was implemented in the US. The UK had railroads first, but they locked in early. The US came along and made a better rail system, which became the standard for the world.

    Perhaps that teacher has an advantage over all of the other schools/teachers that are already using tech. They can leap the learning curve and adopt the best, instead of continually trying to upgrade, etc...


  2. The issue is never technology....the issue is mind set,access to information, and willingness to free the students. You can go 21st thinking and teaching with the old just takes longer. Demand a revolution!

  3. @Norman: Demanding a revolution, in my experience, usually encourages the interlocutor to come up with more arguments as to why you can't possibly be right. More effective, I think to *show* admins that the technologies are inexpensive, useful, powerful.


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