Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thoughts from the field.

Recently I had an interesting situation happen at McCracken which highlight how things are changing in technology.

One language arts teacher who has trouble meeting technology objectives recently complained that she would like to integrate technology in teaching the writing process but either it never works or she can never get computer lab time when she requests it. This teacher tells me she must have word processors and printers to give students feedback on paper. Another language arts teacher asked me for lab time so her class could work on the writing process. However, she wanted advice and help on creating blogs for her students to do their writing. Her hope was for other people to write responses to her students giving constructive criticism on what they wrote.

Unfortunately, there was no computer lab time available. I did ask both teachers if they had polled their respective students on how many had computers with Internet access at home. The first told me she did not have to ask but that she knew most of her students did not have access. The second teacher admitted she had not but asked her students for a show of hands of who had computer access. Over three-quarters of the class rose their hands. She also asked how many had done any blogging on the Internet and over half the class rose their hands this time.

So we had a situation in which two teachers with the same lesson plan and each wanting access to our computer labs but were unable to get it. One teacher did not even want to consider another alternative but only wanted to complain the technology did not work. The second teacher was willing to amend her lesson plan to use the technology resources available. Students with Internet access at home would work at home. Those who did not have Internet access at home would take turns at the computer in class. All the teacher had to do was extend the deadline date.

The moral of this story is for those teachers who see the technology as a means to an end instead of end of a means will successfully integrate technology in the classroom. Also, they will teach their students how to be resourceful in accomplishing a task. Unfortunately, teachers who only use technology for the sake of saying they use technology and then when things are not perfect complain the technology does not work are doing students a disservice.

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