Perspective affects everything that we do. It affects how we view a situation, how we react, our decisions and a myriad of other things. Now, I have the perspective of someone who is an administrator, thinks technology in schools is important, believes schools need to alter and change to assist students to become thinkers and creators not watchers and consumers. However, I’m beginning to think that we may have reached a point where the change being brought on by technology may be creating a gap that, without some pretty significant changes, the ability of any school or regular classroom teacher to keep up may have passed the reality point.This was first brought to my attention by Stephanie Sander’s post over at Change Agency where she discusses the need for many of the leading technology people to step back and reflect on where things are going. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I beginning to wonder if we aren’t reaching a point where the constant change that could be introduced with new innovations is paralyzing people from trying anything.
9 months ago I began blogging. When I began, there were some very prolific and high-profile people discussing the power of blogging and the impact it could have on education and educators. In that 9 months it has gone from blogging to Skype chat, to Facebook, twitter, SL, plus a whole host of other things that I use for my teaching that are not part of my social networking. I now belong to 11 Ning groups, including having my own that I hope will eventually become a place for administrators in my own area to discuss and develop social networks of their own. Wikis have become my tool of choice for homework collection and dispersal, discussions and other class and school needs. I teach students how to create and post both podcasts and videos, something I’d probably not do if it weren’t for my teaching.
The latest thing to hit the floor is streaming tv that allows you to broadcast via the net. Now, I’m not up on this for a variety of reasons although I can see it having implications in my class, school and school division. The one thing that I’m really beginning to wonder is how in the world are we going to get teachers to begin to look at any of these if they are changing as fast as my 2 year old needs his diaper changed! Really. Last week, or was it the week before, I was looking forward to the K12 online conference, school was beginning well and I was into a routine for myself. Bam! Wham!
I seem to have been able to catch my breath today online to find that I’ve missed the first week of the conference, I’m way behind on both reading and posting and something called Ustream has taken the edusphere nation by storm. I did make it over to one of the sites to take a look but no one was on the air. I’ve been trying to get a grasp of what this does all week. Today, as I was outside working on some minor fixes before winter, I was wondering how anyone could ever keep up with all these changes if they were actually working in a classroom plus doing the many other things that teachers do. Is there any chance? Where is our best leverage going to be in schools?
Stephanie’s post really hit something today. Right now, we are having trouble figuring out how and what we might need to do to change curricula to be better suited for students today while at the same time providing parents and society with some type of system that will demonstrate that students are indeed learning and building their knowledge. We struggle within buildings and on campuses with a host of extreme social problems, like campus shootings, like we’ve never seen before and yet we know that we have one of the smartest generation of students ever to grace our classrooms. We are debating the need for safety with the need to teach the students how to keep them safe and trying to convince IT departments that maybe they need to change their roles within the educational framework or things will get some ugly some fast. I could go on but we aren’t even able to be sure students will be able to access an off site email account on the one hand and looking at yet another tool that seems to offer the ability to change some aspects of education. At this pace, teachers won’t have to bother with any technology because there will only be a handful of people who know about the technology and they aren’t everyday classroom teachers.
To seriously look at any type of change, continuing to find new tools to use isn’t going to remove the moss from the stone. We have some incredible things going on in some places with some classrooms but they are the exceptions. Primarily, little has changed with education despite all the tools. I firmly believe that until we examine the curricula, change some of those objectives and rework others, making it relevant to the students, no amount of cool tool is going to create change. Really, 9 months ago, blogging was the way to go while today it seems almost blah. My technorati rating keeps dropping as fewer and fewer new people are reading and referring to what I write. (Maybe I need to explore this more.) Blogs are just one of the many places where we can discuss things and not as vital to interaction as they were when they were the primary way to get to know people. Now, I watch as many of the people I follow on Twitter present at conferences or attend conferences that, really, I have no hope of ever getting to attend without paying for them personally, which could happen (with a small lottery win.)
Will we ever, really, see a change in education? I beginning to believe that it won’t come from those at the head of the technology discovery. It may be possible that many following them will have enough influence to create some change. With the rate of change, I even wonder if they will have an impact.