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Finding A Balance and Creating a Movement

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The divide of the “tech world and non-techies.”

After spending five days at ISTE in Denver,  with my peeps and “birds of a feather” groups, I will soon head to Orlando for the Apple Distinguished Educators Summer Institute.  I was and will be others that understand me and I don’t have to explain myself. It feels so good and the learning is incredible. Then, while working with the Golden Apple Scholars on an online project, I was helping the college students and fellow teachers, they could barely login and answer a question online. Many berate you and state “I don’t have time for that,” or “I couldn’t log in.” and “What is a hyperlink?”

What a divide we live in. One area of education that is plugged in and creating and one group that finds it hard to create online or simply set up an account on the various social networks. (We haven’t even talked about setting up a wiki or website) It would be easy for me to be with those who understand me and hang with the “techies,” but where is the balance? In the world of social networks and technology, we often ask “how can we move and change education?” Well, it doesn’t start with those who “get it,” it starts with those who “don’t.” We have to patiently sit and at times, “hold the hand,” of those who are extremely low in tech skills. We have to set up the non-techie for success. This has to be a conscience effort – ONE person at at time. The personalization of technology and the “private” lesson in tech has to be the norm for some of these individuals.

Now the balance. We are hanging too much with ourselves. We need to “get out more.” So, as part of the twitter and plurk talk it should revolve around “who’d you help today?” Wouldn’t that be a great movement? This would be were we would post who we moved into the 21st century with online learning, setting up a classroom wiki, or simply got their files online. Let’s start small.

So, this school year I will document, using a google doc, who I helped and what they learned or setup –  ONE teacher at a time.  I think I have found my balance and with that, a movement of learning. Look for updates and how my “mini” movement is going. This is my new charge and new mission.

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8 Comments  comments 

8 Responses

  1. Carol;

    I get the same “Deer in the Headlights Look” from my students many times when we do things online, and I just can’t believe it! When I talk to some of my student’s parents they always say that their child is very good with computers! No they’re not! They’re good with texting on the cell phones, Facebook, MySpace and computer games, not with what they SHOULD know.

    I agree with you that it has to start with us, the teachers. My frustrations with many of my colleagues is that they just don’t seem to get it. They have access to fantastic technologies, yet many seem to not want to change! When the best use of technology in a classroom is still an overhead projector I go nuts!

    I’ve heard it so many times from teachers that I teach some Professional Development to that I shouldn’t be shocked anymore, but I am when they tell me, “I only use my computer to check my email and enter in my grades.”

    I agree that we live in a divide, but I see a glimmer that that divide is narrowing! For me, it re-energizes me when I get to attend a conference like ISTE that we just returned from and see so many fantastic educators who are excited and are trying to lead the way. It gives me hope!

  2. The only way to get the rest on board is to lead by example and create amazing things with our students. The same problems have always existed with any kind of professional development. The best way to make this transition is to make your own program a joyful place of creation, collaborate with like-minded people, and allow everyone else to see what we are doing and want that for their own students.

  3. Right on Carol, right on.

  4. This reminds me of 10-15 years ago when many music educators didn’t see the need for, or feel they had the time/energy to learn, computer music notation software. Now a large percentage of us use it all the time and don’t \resist.\ I’m sure the same will be true with many of the technologies you mention.

    On the other hand, I remember sitting in several sessions on integrating PDA’s in the music curriculum and, frankly, very little of that gained traction (although there are small pockets of enthusiasts: I know of a nearby district that just got a whole bunch of iPod Touches to use in their music department, and so far use them for little more than very expensive tuners).

    For the real world, (busy schedules, tight budgets, limited time for training, etc., etc.) BALANCE is everything. I think your perspective is sober and pro-active. Good luck!

  5. Great post Carol. I am looking forward to seeing how your year pans out with your new mission. – Amy

  6. Well said, Carol – that is what makes you an outstanding educator! I will take on your challenge of teaching others to incorporate tech, and make it a mission as well.

  7. Inspirational post, Carol! I’m new to the blogging/wiki/pln world myself… in fact only one week old today! But I am already excited (and relieved) by how empowering getting connected feels! And I was surprised at how much I really could figure out for myself if I just took my time, and my learning really took off when I found networks of colleagues to draw experience and advice from. I’m already thinking about adopting your idea to help those around me learn how easy this is to do once they get started. I like the idea of ONE at a time. It’s how we’ll change the face of education!

  8. I think for a lot of music teachers, its not the use of technology in their classroom–its the looming spectre that some forms of technology are being used to weaken the place of music in the schools. The presence of online music lessons and online degree programs is raising questions for many of us about the value of such teaching, and the very definitions of education. Teaching is not merely the transmission of content–its about the establishment and development of relationships, between students and teachers, and among educators themselves. I’m not sure how I see this happening in a fully online environment. I also worry about where music students who have “attended” or graduated from online high schools, or taken most of their private lesson online, are going to be accepted should they decide to pursue a career in music education. I don’t see much thoughtful discussion of these kinds of issues–just a lot of enthusiasm for the “wow” factor related to new tools and apps.

    I’m a reasonably tech-savvy teacher, require all my students’ assignments to be submitted electronically, and use many forms of technology in my teaching on a regular basis. But I do worry if in our haste to embrace the latest and best that technology has to offer we may be losing sight of the fact that teaching–at its core–is at least as high-touch as it is high-tech.

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