Every year I come up with a list of trends in technology. I don’t do this to complain so much as to sort of make a mental list of the issues that I will be facing as an Instructional Technology Director in the coming year. This years “10 Bad Trends” in education technology, (which, when I think about it, really isn’t too much different that my 10 bad trends in 2010 on my 10 bad trends in 2009) is culled from my reading of blogs, magazines, listening to peers, and making a general good use of my PLN. I’m sure that you could add to this list, I’m sure that maybe some of these don’t apply to you in your particular situation. Like all such lists, they are 100% subjective. Take what you can from the list, maybe you can add to it, maybe you can use it as a guidepost in 2012, or maybe you could even be one of the ones that help resolve one of those trends in the coming years!
Bad Trend #6: Ed tech gurus not offering solutions.
For years now we’ve been listening to the Ed Tech gurus go across country and across the world telling people that they need to change the ways that they are teaching, the school district needs to change the ways that they are doing lessons and curriculum, and that if we don’t jump on this bandwagon bad things will happen. They’ve been saying this since before the 21st century began starting the drumbeat acting 1997, and they are still out there saying the exact same thing almost 15 years later. The trouble is very few of them are offering any solutions to implementing the Ed Tech changes that they are espousing. The time has come for Ed Tech groups and gurus to stop telling us that we need to change, and collectively start showing us how to change. They need to show us how to change in all districts not just the elite East Coast districts, or the charter schools were their kids are going to, but they need to show us in places like low social economic status school districts, districts with high ESOL students, schools that have high turnover rates, etc. What bothers me the most about the Ed Tech gurus is that they are the best and the brightest when it comes to telling us about education technology, but they have completely dropped the ball and showing us how to do it. They come in and keynote, do a few sessions, then just assuming that there’s ways to implement change based on their one day of blessing us with their presence. It’s almost as if they don’t understand that with funding being cut, that technology is being used only for remediation. One guru, who will remain nameless, told me this year that they will continue the speeches and keynotes because “there are a lot of people and districts that have not heard the message.” Amazing. If they haven’t heard by now, it is because they don’t want to hear the message. With funding going to the wrong places, they don’t offer districts any real solutions. When challenged in his blog to actually demonstrate how it gets changed, Will Richardson admitted that it would take a sea change to do it. In other words, he didn’t actually have a solution FOR change, only that change was needed. That is not an uncommon stance not only for the many gurus and guru-ettes that are crisscrossing the planet from one ed tech conference to another but also for the large ed tech organizations like ISTE, TCEA and the Partnership for 21st Century skills. Come on Ed Tech leaders and organizations: start leading us by showing us how to change. We already know what to change.
Parts 1-5 Here: