* This is a cross post with my Cohort 21 Blog (http://cohort21.com/marcielewis/)
Over the past few years the most common comment that I have heard about why teachers aren’t using more technology or why they are not comfortable using technology, is because they don’t have the time. I think that a lot of people automatically assume that in order to incorporate technology into their classroom it is going to some how consume a lot of their own time – in learning how to use the tool, to designing meaningful uses for it, to teaching the kids how to do it. The truth is it can consume a lot of your own time and I will be the first to admit that I have invested a lot of time into learning about the uses of technology in education, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, I would argue that many uses of technology can actually help you and your students to use your time more effectively.
One of the lessons that I have learned in trying to share my passion for the meaningful use of technology is that technology cannot just be “another thing” that teacher have to “cover“. Teachers need to see that technology can be incorporated into lessons meaningfully so that students are able to do things that cannot be done without the use of technology. Technology shouldn’t be used for the sake of using technology, it should be used because it allows us to do things that without it are not possible or more challenging without its use.
One thing that I have realized is that I am very fortunate to work in a school that recognizes the value of technology and provides teachers with access to great resources and professional development funding. As a result there are many great things happening with the use of technology around the school; however, I don’t think that there is enough sharing happening between colleagues in order to facilitate a deeper conversation.
For my action plan, I would like to investigate ways to highlight innovate uses of technology that are happening already in my division or department. By showing every other the great things that are already happening, I think that it would serve as a catalyst for continued conversation and create a collaborative learning community. It would also provide some information regarding what types of technology are being used most effectively, who could provide assistance in specific areas, and any gaps that may exist. The challenge is to do this in a way that is not time consuming, for all parties. I also think that parents and prospective families would find this information useful to get a better idea of the things that are happening on a daily basis in our classrooms.
I feel that this would be effective because the most useful learning that I have done with technology is when someone personally (face-to-face, or virtually) has shown me a specific tool and examples of how to incorporate it effectively. Even if the specific example is not applicable to my current situation, it is much easier for me to understand how I could effectively utilize the tool having seen an authentic use for it. Also, it would help to make us more aware of what types of tools teachers in other grades/departments are using that students may have already had exposure to.
If you have interesting ways of highlighting innovative uses of technology happening in your school/department/division, I would be interested to hear about them.