When Teachers Fail. . .

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12 thoughts on “When Teachers Fail. . .

  1. Mike H

    So I showed this slide to the department chairs I work with from middle school to high school and 15 new teachers of the county. We have a 1:1 so I talked about the need to use the laptops are students to bring to school, as well as the need to make our students think more critically. But, alas, overwhelmingly, the concern was the end of course exams.

  2. Max Ding

    Bill Ferriter said: That’s because all technology does is make the kinds of behaviors that we all know and value—communication, collaboration, managing information—easy and efficient.
    I agree to this statement, but there is one big mistake in technological advances in the classroom; students think it’s a big shortcut. For example, a student in the 1900’s might study for five hours, while a student in the current time period might only study for 15 minutes.
    What do you propose to do about this?

  3. Heather Blanton

    I don’t think the answer to this problem is a one shot deal. If you want to build better students, build better teachers, if you want better teachers, build better administrators, if you want to build better schools then our leadership needs to be better. So where to start? One word: training. We need to be looking at our preservice teacher and admin programs. These programs need to be the foundation of lasting institutional reform. I hear all the time that today’s new crop of teachers are tech savy forward thinkers, but are they really? Some are, but I would challenge that we’re still turning out 20th Century teachers for the 21st Century classroom. The same holds with administrators. I just finished UVA’s admin program and had a wonderful technology class, as an elective (this year it becomes mandatory). That two legs of the tripod, we’re still not there yet. The last leg that makes the other two possible is political support for education, especially in higher ed to support these programs. I agree that reform isn’t about the technology tools; rather, it is about the environments and experiences made possible by these tools.

  4. Russ Goerend

    Of course the tools make more it more doable. They are tools, what else would they do?
    We are doing a disservice to our students if we are not working to provide access to the free tools that make being a 21st Century Learner possible. We could go back and forth all day on what exactly it means to be a 21st Century Learner, but the bottom line is that we are moving toward (using the future tense in this case makes my head hurt — another excuse for those putting the transition off, and putting their kids behind) an information-overload society, where collecting, analyzing, cataloging, and synthesizing that information is increasingly important (<-- understatement). I got the sense that you want to brush off technology as something that makes learning "easy and efficient". I think easy and efficient is what learning *should be*, which is why I will continue to fight for the tools students need to be 21st Century Learners. Tangent: I hear new tech "tools" knocked down because they change. "Well, who knows if Diigo will be around in a year?" If my students learn how to use Diigo, they are learning skills: cataloging, bookmarking, tagging, searching, organizing. Skills that can be applied to the next tool that comes along. I feel like some educators act as if these new tools are fundamentally different from the old tools. As if, even though I've used a claw hammer, a ball peen is going to be some foreign object to me and I'm going to need extensive training on how to use it.

  5. Bill Ferriter

    Cary wrote:
    To add to the conversation, I would say that technology is not the only thing about our classrooms that is “yesterday.”
    I’m glad you jumped on this, Cary!
    It was a part of my evil master plan for this slide. Note that I never mention technology in this slide at all.
    That was an intentional act—even though I write about technology all the time. That’s because all technology does is make the kinds of behaviors that we all know and value—communication, collaboration, managing information—easy and efficient.
    21st Century Learning, like so many have written recently, isn’t about tools, even though tools can make 21st Century Learning more “doable.”
    Any of this make sense?

  6. Cary Kirby

    To add to the conversation, I would say that technology is not the only thing about our classrooms that is “yesterday.” Much of what we do in our rooms is not mandated by outside forces. Examples include how your desks are arranged, how much your students communicate with each other in a given class period (through structured interaction), and what your expectations are for your students.
    Technology can change these things as well, but it is not the ONLY component to a 21st Century School.

  7. Russ Goerend

    Darin and Matt G.,
    I agree. As a teacher who brought both Google Docs and Diigo to my administrator’s attention this summer, I’m 100% with you that we — teachers — are the ones who need to lead the charge. Here’s the angle I’m coming from, though: great administrators push their teachers, they aid them in pursuing that future-based classroom. Bad, backwards-thinking administrators hire and breed backwards-thinking teachers.
    I wouldn’t go as far as Matt T. and pass the buck to the whole system. I’m looking at building level. Think about the difference between these two scenarios:
    Teacher A spreads the word among teachers and administrators about Google Docs, wikis, and Diigo and uses both on a small-scale with students. Administration A rubber stamps Teacher A’s pursuit of a future-based classroom, and never mentions it again after the initial “Is this OK?” conversation.
    Teacher B spreads the word among teachers and administrators about Google Docs, wikis and Diigo during the summer. Within a week of first hearing about them, Administrator B has switched her techno-life to Google Apps (Calendar and Docs), created groups on Diigo for each leadership team in the school, and is putting IT on the hot seat for getting Google Apps Education Edition rolled out in her grades 6-7 building. All PLCs in the building are required to document their PLC work on wikis in the upcoming school year, Diigo will be rolled out to the staff mid-year, and administrator asks Technology Leadership Team to start “Tech Tuesdays” informal get-togethers to build knowledge among teachers.
    This is one teacher having the same conversation with the same groups of people (teachers and administrators) in two different districts. Teacher A is me in my former district (last year). Teacher B is me with my new district this summer.
    Passing the buck is what happens when administrators stay on the outside of the learning that is required to build the classrooms of the future.

  8. Leesa Watego

    Thank you for your post. I understand the frustration that must have prompted it. I’m an advocate for new technology and the new teaching that is required to foster. My 14yr old is always amazed at how much I teach him about technology & social media that his teachers seem not to understand or are unable to teach (& I’m not a techie either – just self-taught like most of us). And as much as I’d like to have a go at lazy teaching – this issues is not only about teachers. Parents are complicit in many school communities (at a meeting on Monday night a parent was moaning about why they can’t just use books & pencils like she did when she was a kid!) just as much as the systems that are required to build the infrastructure to support new modes of learning. My son’s high school has been waiting months to have the correct cabling put in to enable 60 computers to be installed.
    So while I agree to some extend, I’m afraid I have to disagree that its just about the person at the front of the class.
    I’m going to take the approach that its about those of us who do have access (intellectually as well as physcially to technology & new modes of learning) to continue our passionate advocacy of new modes of learning but in a way that doesn’t alienate people (including ordinary mums & dad’s who don’t understand it all) and teachers who are simply to confused & scared to try new things.
    In Australia there are still communities that have no access to running water & electricity let alone laptops, smartphones & internet connections, so we have a heck of a long way to go!

  9. Darin Hausberger

    We need to quit passing the buck and blaming “the system” and take matters into our own hands as teachers. We can change things one teacher at a time. 2 years ago I had no idea about web 2.0 and now use it everyday

  10. Matt Tucker

    When our districts are forced to force our administrators to force our teachers to force our students to sit in the classrooms of yesterday, it is our country’s education system that is FAILING.

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