Monday, January 7, 2008

A Soapbox Speech: Time to Step Up

All of us here at the Tech Fridge (here's a secret: it's only me, but it sounds better to pretend I have friends...) hope that you had the happiest New Year you possibly could. After watching the ball drop on TV, my wife and I have began scheming on ways to make it to NYC once the kid(s) are old enough to appreciate it.
This week I'm finalizing my presentations (SMART Board, web 2.0) for my monthly elementary technology contact meeting. Because this is my first year in this position, and only the second year for the ETCs, as we like to call them, my bosses have allowed me to do some tinkering with the schedule and set up. We've been able to move towards more of a hands-on experience, which is outstanding. But is it doing any good?
The biggest thing that I struggle with is, even when it gets taken back and shared with their staff members, what do the teachers do with it? Do I waste time in my office each week finding new ways to do what we are already doing? Sometimes I look at web 2.0 and Google apps and think of how cool that would be to have my own class doing that!
So, as much as I hate New Year's resolutions, mine is going to be to watch teachers improve their teaching and learning with technology. I still want to hear about it. I still want to read about it. But I want to watch it. I want to see it. We all do it: It's so much easier to sit in your office and work on other things than to go out to schools. It's about time that we, those "big shots down there," take responsibility and watch what we recommend in action.
The blog post that won for most influential blog post of 2007 from EduBlog was "Is It Okay To Be A Technologically Illiterate Teacher?" from The Fisch Bowl (by the way, he says no, it's not OK...and I you'll read). While he says, in an updated post on 12-9, that he isn't sure why it won, I can't tell if he's trying to be modest or just doesn't understand his own post. His post is somewhat of a wake up call to all of us. If you aren't using technology in your classroom, you are behind the times and need to start the process of catching up. We don't expect a daily wiki post and separate video podcast tomorrow. You cannot/should not be satisfied with handing out a paper and pencil to each and every kid each and every day. More so, administrators should not be satisfied with that. It needs to become the norm to use effective technology in your classroom, not the exception.
So, I have my bosses on board with my ideas, now it's just convincing the real difference makers, our teachers, to hop on board as well. I know our district can become more technology-reliant in our instruction. I read over and over and over about all of these other schools who do such outstanding things with technology. Damnit, I want to be one of those schools. You will rarely see my name, because that's not what it's about for me. You'll see our kids' names, because everything that we do should be about them. But we need to catch up to them...


Karl Fisch said...

Well, I wasn't trying to be modest, so perhaps it's the latter.

I don't think it's a bad post, I just don't think it's the most influential post of the year. There were so many other posts that I felt were not only more influential, but just plain better.

You're right, it should be about the students. Keep on keepin' on.

J Allen said...

You said what many of us thought, which I think is where the "influential" comes in. I am seeing more and more of the same sentiment. You said the right thing at the right time.