I thought I would share a blog post by David Warlick on integrating technology that caught my eye this week. There are so many positions to view this rant (as he himself calls it) from, that it has sparked a most lively discussion.
I don’t know that it is fair to make technology integration a blame game. I know that there are some teachers who are content to do what they have always done, whatever it takes to get them out the door 10 minutes after school is out. However, I also know there are so many teachers who truly define the word. They are willing to put large amounts of time into making their classroom a place where learning is fun, motivating, and truly happening on a daily basis. My very own sister is one of these people and would love to incorporate more technology into her classroom, but she teaches in a district where all streaming video is blocked and teachers are not even allowed to use a flash drive! So, it is hardly to fair to blame the teachers in that situation.
We are all human and there will constantly be someone holding up the process, whether it be a teacher, an IT staff, an administrator, a school board, or a superintendent. The best we can do is to continue to implement strategies that will be effective for the digital natives in our classrooms to the best of our ability. A technology-integrated classroom is not going to happen overnight, but that does not mean that it cannot still be an effective classroom.
One of the great things about CPS is that it does not require internet, so if you are a teacher committed to the cause, it is possible to use CPS in your classroom even if your IT staff is “out to lunch.” It is very easy to hook CPS up to your very own laptop if the school computer makes it much too difficult. Granted, it is nice to have a projector, but it works on a TV screen too!
My point is…if you are a teacher who is serious about connecting with your students in the digital world, you will find a way to do it. We have had so many teachers who took the initiative to step out on their own and get CPS in their classroom that other teachers caught the “fever” and realized what an incredible tool it was. Administrators can hardly argue with strategies that are engaging students and raising test scores. So, if you’re frustrated with your school, your administrator, your district, or your teachers, make sure that you are doing all that you can to integrate technology into your position and continue trying to make the process as easy and painless as possible for others in your district.
Someone alluded to the fact in a comment on David Warlick’s blog post that it is human nature to be much more excited about our own ideas than the ideas of others. Boy, how true that is! We are really seeing a major shift in the way that we educate our students, so be patient with those that are acting as speed bumps. As Bill Blackman said, “Great changes may not happen right away, but with effort even the difficult may become easy.”