I first published this in 2009:
I have been trying to put together some of the ideas that I have been batting around in my little brain for the last year or so. There seems to be a series of themes that have been revolving around that always come back into my cerebellum when I write. I have tried to stay positive. I have tried to stay focused on different content, but it always keeps coming back to a few major themes:
1)Teachers do not have the experience they need to integrate technology into their classrooms. When I say this, I mean teachers in general, not you, my dear readers who I know are doing that very thing everyday, or as many days as you can. Even though the vast majority of teachers WANT to use technology, the vast majority do not integrate is properly into the lesson cycle.
2)Teachers do not have time to learn how to integrate technology into their lessons. They are too busy testing, preparing for tests, getting ready for the preparation for the test, and so forth. Technology integration is still viewed by many as “just another thing to do.” “My plate is full”, and I have to learn something new that may or may not help me with the test. This is a negative example of data-driven decision making. If you don’t have data on how it helps MY KIDS in MY SITUATION, then I don’t want it.
3)There is an overabundance of technology. There is no clear place to start. There is a paralysis of choice, making it easier to do nothing than to do something with education technology. A few years ago, teachers said things like “If only I had a computer in my classroom, I could do more. They used the lack of a classroom computer to not do integration. Now, because of the perception that you need more to do more teachers say things like “If only every student had a computer, then I could do more integration.” Inflationary stagnation. I don’t have more, so I can’t do anything.
4)Administrators still do not understand what technology integration is, so they don’t know how to support it. I recently looked at the agenda for the annual Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (www.tepsa.org) and found it woefully lacking in anything having to do with technology or technology integration. Administrators still think if the TEACHER is using the Smartboard and the Infocus then technology integration is taking place.
The themes that keep popping up in my mind have some commonalities: lack of time, lack of training, lack of focus because of too much “stuff.”
Lack of time.
Lack of training.
Lack of focus.
So then, why don’t more educators start trusting people that have the time, that have the training, and have the focus as the starting point to jumping into the ed tech pool?
Why don’t people just say something like “You know, Will Richardson (or Kevin Honeycutt, or Sheryl Nussbaum, or Miguel Guhlin, or Steve Hargadon, or David Warlick, or Dean Shrinski or whomever) is trustworthy, knows their stuff, and that is what we are going to do?
Kevin Honeycutt is one of the most sincere honest and trustworthy presenters on the circuit today. You know, after listening to him for 5 minutes, that he is not bullshitting you. After an hour, you know he is taking you down the right path. So why not trust him? If Kevin says “Use Plurk, it is a pretty cool tool for growing your PLN” why WOULDN’T you do it? I don’t understand.
Teachers say “I don’t have time to find the tools.”
Okay, Kevin just told you to use a tool that he has vetted, that he has used, that he trusts. Why not trust him?
I understand not trusting organizations. They are big and impersonal. If ISTE tells you you should do something, that is one thing. But if Sheryl Nussbaum tells you, and she has vetted and she trusts it, why not trust Sheryl?
Is isn’t like there are any lack of people to trust. There are zillion ed tech blogs out there just as starting points. Here is a list of the best 100 ed tech blogs. And that is just 100. There are thousands of others (like this one for instance cough cough..)
Educators all over the world are spending their free time trying to get the word out to fellow educations with no other ulterior purpose other than trying to encourage fellow teachers to teach with technology.
Time to trust the ed bloggers. Time to create your PLN and then trust them.
They have found the time to find the things that others do not have the time to find.
They have the training to show others how something works.
They have the focus to say “this works, this does not.”
So why don’t their fellow educators just drop the distrust of those they do not know and do not yet understand and say “Okay, I’ll trust this person to lead me.” These bloggers, for the most part, don’t have too much of an agenda. Occasionally one or two are trying to sell something, but for the most part, they are well-intentioned and transparent.
So, if a teacher does not have the time to learn, why not just trust those that have laid the groundwork?
If an administrator does not understand what tech integration really is, why not trust those that do?
If educators do not have time to find all that “stuff” out there, why not trust those that are looking?
I have been hearing this phrase a lot as well: “But do they have the same population of students we have?”
Okay, the answer is NO. No on every single demographic that you can think of. They don’t have as many hispanics as you do. They don’t have as many African Americans as you do. They don’t have as many SES and Title I students as you do.
Get over that right now.
Trust them anyway. It DOES NOT MATTER that they don’t have the same experience, same demographics same everything that you do. Bloom didn’t have your demographics, yet you used his taxonomy. Howard Gardner didn’t have your demographics but you use his multiple intelligences. So get over it.
No one has your demographics.
Trust them anyway.
In the next part of this article., I will try to outline how the ed tech bloggers can make the “trust me” easier for teachers to swallow.