Technology – It’s About the Teachers, Not the Tools

There seems to be an underlying thread throughout recent tweets and blog posts – disconnect between tech trainers and educators.  @socratech tweeted just today looking for suggestions of good and bad things done with technology pd – mistakes made was the nicer way he put it.  I think @tomwhitby hit the nail on the head when he said that PD needs to focus less on the bells and whistles and more on how tech will help teachers (which then will help students).  For many teachers, reality forces them to focus on the bottom line – no time to create much less time to design rubrics to grade the creativity.  As @tomwhitby points out, teachers are stuck at the lowest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy – It’s About the Facts. 

Teachers need to be able to see what is in it for them during PD.  You will never get teachers on board with anything (much less technology) if they can’t see how it will help them.  Hard pill to swallow, but it’s true.  Technology professional development needs to be presented as easy for teachers to understand, easy to teachers to integrate, and be possible to replicate on their own in their own classrooms.

As for Bloom’s, make note of this wiki – Bloom’s for the Digital Age http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy  Probably WAY more than you wanted, but start with the rubrics alone to identify how technology takes education to the higher levels.

6 thoughts on “Technology – It’s About the Teachers, Not the Tools

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  3. I had never thought of teachers and technology in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy before, but it is very true. Unfortunately, if you just offer PD that is

    easy for teachers to understand, easy to teachers to integrate, and be possible to replicate on their own in their own classrooms

    then they will be stuck at the bottom of Bloom’s. Like our students, we also need to challenge our teachers and cause them discomfort (in a supportive way!) so that they (hopefully) examine their teaching practices.

  4. Clint, I most definitely agree that we need to challenge teachers. What I see happened is PD challenging teachers too much from the get go, long before teachers have fully embraced technology. Us “techies” have a tendency to go overboard with our enthusiasm and challenge, instead of meeting teachers where they are, at their level of comfort, and challenging them there. It’s a fine line to walk – challenging teachers to reach for the sky, but meeting them on the ground first.

  5. I attended a Technology Committee meeting at my school yesterday evening. The chief issue was, “how do we get teachers to adopt technology so that it becomes integrated into the classroom?” And we were talking about doing a survey, and writing a vision document, and creating a set of curriculum objectives, and… and…

    I said, “Maybe what we need to do is put computers into the hands of our teachers so that they can, you know, use them. Right now, we expect them to leave their classrooms in droves, come up to the faculty prep room from all over the building, use one of the three computers for 55 faculty, and then take their digital prep-work back to their classroom. Except that, we don’t even allow for that — because not every teacher teaches in the same classroom all day, and not all of them have computers in their rooms, and not all of them have internet connections on their computers if they do have them.”

    I got a cold stare. And I get, too. Giving a Mac laptop to every faculty member is around $60,000 to $150,000 in expenses for a device that not all of them will use.

    But on the other hand, providing a vision of a school with tech — without providing the tech — is a waste of time.

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