The Computer Won't Let Me...

  • login
  • use the software
  • create an account"
I hear this from adults as well as kids. There are almost metaphysical realms at work when this attitude is in full gear. It seems that if there is an expectation of failure, it WILL fail. This attitude gets projected at technology. ALOT.

I recently assisted our school in developing a paperless calendar system using
a simple Google-based online, embeddable calendar. Events could be submitted online using a Google Docs Form. The Administrative Assistant and Principal can review the request and approve it within a few hours in most cases. The event will go 'live' on the calendar usually within 24 hours with no paper involved and with strict oversight of any possible conflicts.

Sounds great. Sounds simple. And it is!
There are two factors that immediately made this simplicity problematic:

1-It involved technology
2-It required CHANGE

These two seem to be dreaded by many in the Education Profession. In our case, there was much anxious buzz about the new system mostly because people had to give up the 'tangibility' that the paper calendar seemed to represent. And they would try to do
strange things like attempt to migrate the new online calendar to Microsoft Office as if THAT was where a calendar "belongs". It is very frustrating at first to be confronted with this resistance. Very! But that's only the first reaction. Upon reflection, one realizes
(as Michael Fullan reminds us) that change comes slow (in schools especially) and resistance is a natural part of ANY change.

Also-Ours is a tactile and visual culture: 'If I can't see it and touch it, it doesn't exist". Unless your a 'techie'. Then you know the great value of going paperless, subscribing to feeds, using apps, embeddable files, blogs, etc...So until one is and understands that the
paradigm has changed (everything, everywhere all the time; digitally), it will be slow going.

I began blogging about Web 2.0 and using tech in education 3 years ago using videos such as Are you Paying Attention and Shift Happens as support for my claims. If I were to predict that most Education Professionals still haven't caught on in 2010, I would say your'e crazy.

But here we are. Those of us tweeting and blogging mostly get reinforcement from each other..We speak to the choir. We are NOT the majority, however.

So, I believe in both Scott AND Darren's arguments.

Tech has great value in transforming teaching and learning and SHOULD be adopted but
Education Professionals need a great deal of empathy, encouragement and patience to get moving in a direction of adopting tech.

Any adoption of technology should only be done to support learning and teaching goals that are already established to empower students by allowing more or better avenues for creativity, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, assessment and differentiation- to reflect our new and ever-changing 21st Century World.

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