This week I sat through 2 meetings in the same day. The two meetings seem to have gone in opposite directions. The morning meeting was a group of our districts technology teachers discussing how we get the message out (the message of teachers not being the source of information for students, but to teach students to find their own sources and then become the source themselves). We came up with this great list. Due to time that is all it was, a list. At a future meeting we will be discussing strategies how to make that list come to life. I was feeling pretty good. We were using a Wiki to collaborate our thoughts and ideas. Blogging on various edtech topics was happening at the same time. We were not using our computers because we were the technology people; we were using our computers because they helped us communicate more efficiently.
I went back to my building for a while in the afternoon to finish preparing for the 20 minute presentation I had to give at a staff meeting. 15 minutes of the presentation were about a district data initiative, the other 5 was to be spent on how to log into the blogging and wiki’s I setup for our teachers so they could: experience blogging, communicate using a wiki, and learn about these great new tool that was available for them to use in their classroom. When the staff meeting started I was first on the agenda, good sign. I presented, answered a few questions and sat and listed to the rest of the staff meeting.
Here is what made me feel like I was fighting a battle that is not winnable. The rest of the meeting discussed: NCLB proposed changes, upcoming standardized testing, union issues, AYP, and various other topics. A quote from our principal, “I’m glad I am in year 29, not year 10.” WOW, I’m not feeling so good anymore. My poor wife is going to have to listen to me rant about this one.
Two days later, not one teacher has logged onto the blog I set up. With all that is going on, teachers are overwhelmed. Those of us who have “seen the light” realize technology and web2.0 tools have the power to help revolutionize education. The problem is; how do you get the mass population to see it? Humans have an animal instinct, when they are under attack; they protect themselves with the tools they know best. Teachers know how to teach with direct instruction, overheads and chalkboards. They are good at it. With all the pressure of testing, and now job security if you are in the bottom 25%, how do you convince teachers to come out of their cave and take a chance? More importantly, how do you convince administrators? I was on the verge of being depressed.
I’m an impatient person. I want things to happen now! I’m also realistic and know that change takes time. My job is to help change take place. Once I had a bit of time to reflect, I’m glad I am in year 10. I am going to spend the next 20-25 years finding answers the question “how do we get there?” Right now I just need a little help figuring out where to start!