I am lucky the district I currently teach in values technology and has leadership to support technology planning. It occurs to me that not all districts put value on technology, and emerging technologies. Are we the cream of the crop? I can’t answer that, but I do know there are steps in place to make our district technology robust. With infrastructure in place, that is half the battle.
The other side of the emerging technology coin is teachers’ efforts in utilizing technology, and emerging technologies. It occurs to me that our districts’ teachers, as a whole, are not fully embracing technology. There are a few pockets of motivated teachers that use, and fully integrate technology in their class, but it is not the norm. I discuss this issue with our IT director on a regular basis. Our middle school has 1:1. Do all teachers take advantage of this? Absolutely not! The school has about 300 students (7-8 grade), and they all have MacBook Airs. That’s at least a $300,000 investment in student learning! Most of the teachers try to incorporate the availability of laptops into their teaching, but it falls short because of the inexperience of teaching in a 1:1 school, and the lack of specific training to fully utilize technology in their own department. Yes, the district provides professional development in certain technologies, but I think it has fallen short on providing individual, content area specific, professional development. Is it the district’s fault? No. Teachers do need to make an effort, on their own time, to research and find successful ways to incorporate technology in their class.
Before enrolling in this class, I have always tried to incorporate computer technology in my high school math courses. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it impossible? No. But you need to spend the time and effort to make it happen. I think teachers get stuck in the rut of teaching from the text. (I do too). It’s easy, predictable, and laid out in sequence. When it’s time to involve technology, it’s just plain hard work. Sometimes texts do incorporate technology for you, but it gets treated like an aside. Students won’t suffer if teachers don’t include it in their lesson.
I apologize for the rant, but I do feel strongly about using technology more in the education of students in this digital age. There are amazing things happening in education, and it’s great to see and read the success stories from innovative educators.