Saturday, February 7, 2009

Teachers and Technology

Over on "Creating Lifelong Learners," they're talking about Five Reasons Why We Aren’t We Integrating Technology in School. The reasons were:
* Technology is expensive.
* Technology is broken or unavailable.
* Technology use isn’t tested.
* Technology lessons often aren’t well planned.
* Fear of losing control.
If you're ineterested in his details, meander over there and check'em out. I wrote the following and I thought I'd share it here:

In my school, and in many others nearby, the greatest problem seems to be that the teachers do not want to spend time on their own with a manual or a For Dummies book. They are always insisting on "we need training" - for even the simplest things.

Sometimes, admittedly, the cry is used to short-circuit some really dumb initiatives from the administration by raising a big enough stink that the new ed-fad of the week is avoided on a temporary basis.

I'm a technology geek who also LOVES blackboards - I've got five of them, covering two of the walls. It is awesome for math class. I enjoy using a SmartBoard, but it's not essential. So I've resisted buying one for my room on the rather limited budget the math department has. I've played with the idea, though. Borrowed the mobile one from the lab fairly regularly.

The science teacher across the hall, on the other hand, bought a huge one (84" diagonal) and it's still leaning against the file cabinet in the corner! After nearly a year!

Why? Because he spends so much time on his lesson plans - almost three hours a day - and he has no time to learn how to use it (his claim). Now this guy has been teaching for years and is in his third year at this school - how is it possible to spend that much time on lesson plans alone? Beats me.

When I asked him about the SmartBoard, he said "I need training in how to use it!"

Now, how much time would it really take to learn? Maybe a few hours to get the basics and start a few files. 30 minutes one day each week to "learn something new". You're off and running.

I offered to help him but he refused - no time. So I asked if I could set the Board up in my room, to get some use out of it until he needed it. To my total surprise, he agreed.

I'm thinking "I'll get it running and working and then show him how to use it and move it back" but I have a feeling I'll get to keep it for a while.

This mind-set of never wanting to try something new, of being afraid to use technology, to thinking "I'm overwhelmed and can't deal with this" - this is something I just can't understand.

Are we teachers really that "stupid" that we can't learn something new without a consultant guiding our every step?

I sometimes think so.


  1. Love the post :) If you would like some info for your SMARTboard or some great resources, check out!

  2. The vast majority of the time, an overhead projector is about as technological as I need to get in a classroom. Once in a blue moon I could use more, but somehow I survive.

  3. Yeah, but this is a FREE SmartBoard. I feel like I've run a scam or something. Gets me all tingly to have four blackboards with a fifth blackboard covered by the smartboard. How cool is that?

    Run the TI-SmartView on the SmartBoard or some boned-headed PowerPoint, space for four kids doing problems on the blackboards, the overhead projected on the screen that moved over to the third wall, with a couple of kids drawing multicolored integrals with Vis-a-Vis pens.

    And I've a wall of windows with the sun shining in -- It's %^#$-ing math-teacher heaven, I tell ya.

  4. Yes, you are correct that it only takes 30 minutes for a few times and then it is easy. But, as for myself, I work for an elementary school and have been requesting a Smartboard for years and they gave them to others who didn't even want it nor do they use it. I would like a PD along with a certificate so that I have that with my credentials. I live in Staten Island, N.Y. and work in Brooklyn. I teach 4th grade. I am willing to travel to Manhattan if they offered a free training course. The glorified secretarial paperwork the NYC BOE is demanding of us is time consuming enough. I bring work home and after taking care of my family, I revamp lessons accordingly to my students' needs (differentiated instruction, check unit tests in all content areas, contact parents about missing assignments, etc. I agree with the teacher you work with, there isn't enough time in the day when you commute to work for 1 and a half hours going and 1 and a half hours coming home. Not all teachers are as fortunate as you to have the time to teach yourself, let alone others. This is a responsibility that belongs to the NYC BOE's budget and every school should set up PD's so educators can learn and utilize what is "supposed to" be implemented in all curriculum areas. We should not have to pay money from our own pockets in order to learn fast. The overhead works for me unless my school is willing to send me to take the course and then, only then will I would use the rolling Smartboard.