Welcome to my ramblings!

Welcome to my Blog. Here you can find the ramblings of a old high school principal. I've created a number of blogs over the years for a variety of reasons. A large number of them I use with my staff which are password protected from the outside world. This blog is for my fellow educators and anyone else who wants to read the ramblings. I guess my target would be building administrators, future administrators, teachers and educators in general.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"They Don't Get It" Part 1

I attended a conference this past weekend with a focus on technology in the classroom. Most in attendance were teachers with a few tech folks and even fewer administrators. Most of the presenters were also teachers who demonstrated how they used technology in the classroom.

During the two days, I made a few observations I feel I need to share. While this blog is open to anyone, it's main target will be my fellow administrators. In addition, it's going to involve some research on my part so I've labeled this blog entry "part 1" since I believe there will be more to share in the months ahead.

I also believe that almost all my fellow administrators understand the impact of technology on today's generation. Or at least I "think" this to be true. As I attended the conference, I heard something that I've heard before, but really didn't register until now. I heard "They don't get it". The "they" are administrators according to these high power technology users in the classroom.

As I drove home, I reflected on the conference. This statement just kept haunting me as I drove. So even before I got home, I pulled out my iPhone and Plurked a question to my fellow educators in Plurk world. (For those who do not know about Plurk, it's the same as Twitter but has a wealth of educators. You can find more by joining the land of Plurk at http://www.plurk.com.) I asked my fellow teachers what they meant by "They don't get it". Below was the first set of answers and I bulleted each teacher's answer without editing.

  • Many of "them" don't take a leadership role in tech integration; don't allow those who are interested to experiment. Too reactive to parents. So afraid of lawsuits that they lock down the Internet via heavy filtering. Forget, if they ever knew, what the daily classroom experience is like.
  • or don't give time to teachers to 'play' and learn themselves with the tech
  • admin. I think are trying but they themselves need more information & then demand that their teachers integrate. It cannot be optional. time to learn, network with others, good support is critical in addition to having the actual hardware/apps/high speed Internet to integrate
  • they don't understand the power of technology in a classroom and think it is something that should happen after the learning. Don't use and model proper technology for meetings and presentations. OK for teachers but many principals I have come in contact with do not know how to integrate the technology. Some actually don't know much about email. You are an exception.
  • I think admins should be more active in getting overly restrictive blocking lifted!
  • too focused on test scores to allow teachers to try new technology for fear of taking time away from "learning"
  • The issue I see most often from those teachers who weren't at Podstock is training issues. Admins put cool tech in their hands and then walk away and expect the teacher to take care of the rest and some just can't take that next step on their own so the tech goes to waste. The tech looks great to prospective parents and on a building report "We all have interactive whiteboards!" but frustrates some teachers.
 From the first set of answers, I pulled out the following issues: 
     1) Filtering or blocking the Internet. 
     2) Giving staff time to explore, experiment and learn the technology (training).
     3) Too concerned about Parent/community reaction.
     4) Don't understand the impact of technology in the classroom.
     5) They (admin) aren't good at technology and aren't leaders within the world of technology.

I then took these 5 points and re-plurked (asked the question again to see what follow up I would get).

After the re-plurk I only got two additional responses:

  • Some admin don't feel comfortable empowering their staff but want staff to empower kids. Empowerment is  2 -way street.
  • Some admin want technolgy in their hands (not really knowing what to do with it) but don't want kids to have it
because they just break it.

Clearly, the responses are from all grade levels and from various schools. I did get couple that said their admin did get it.

So to my fellow admin ... what does this say to you?

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