November 19, 2008

It's Not About the Tech

Last year I attended a conference where the underlying premise of the majority of the workshops I sat in on (unstated, but at times also stated) was that if you weren't using technology then you were a boring teacher and your class were unimaginative and your students weren't engaged. As I looked around me, I saw heads nodding in agreement, while I sat there with an incredulous look on my face. I began to wonder if indeed technology users had developed into some kind of new elite group and someone had failed to inform me. Instead of coming out of the conference refreshed, I came away dismayed.

On my drive home I began to reflect on this and it occured to me that perhaps one of the reasons that colleagues are loathe to attempt to integrate technology is that they don't feel part of the 'in crowd' (a misconception IMHO, but something believed by many). After conferences I tend to run around my school sharing tools and applications and ideas with anyone that has accidentally left their classroom doors open (meaning, everyone!LOL). I decided not to do that this time. Instead, I wandered from classroom to classroom, observing the wonderful things that teachers do day in and day out with the benefit of technology.

I realized I needed to step back a bit. Now 'Can I...', 'May I...', and 'Do you think we could...' are phrases I'm employing more and more in my interactions with colleagues. By 'knocking', I've enabled teachers to 'open the door' and enter of their own accord. In this new classroom, I've enabled more teachers to take the plunge and discover that sometimes technology can enhance what their students are doing and that they can become part of that transformation.

Little by little, I'm hoping to narrow the digital divide that occurs among teaching professionals.

I'll be attending another conference this weekend and I'm hoping that I won't be hearing any disparaging remarks about non-technology users. And if I do? This time I won't sit quitely by.....stay tune, News at 11!


Mike Wills, Jr. said...

Great point... I've been to a couple conferences that "blasted" the old way of teaching vs. the new one with technology.

I think that, over time, as younger people begin teaching, technology will naturally integrate.

I just saw a post from a teacher that integrated Nintendo wii in his classroom... If it works, please believe the kids will remember him forever. :-)