"What needs to be done to inspire more teachers? "
I spent my past Saturday at SDCUE. Or San Diego Computer Using Educators Tech Conference for those unfamiliar with the acronym. I spent my past Saturday running around taking photos and replying to every twitter comment by the attendees. I sat in rooms watching videos and presentations of student projects and in-class technology integration. I sat in the back and watched all the teachers/admin taking notes either by hand or on their own tech devices.
I watched all of you laugh, share, learn, and simultaneously grow in the 60 seconds I spent in every room. I watched passion shine through the faces of presenters and the ah-ha! moments of the listeners. I watched all of this and I couldn’t help but ask myself, where were these teachers when I went to school?
Where were the teachers eager to keep learning and the ones who wanted to keep up with the new technologies? Where were the teachers who used their day off to sit and listen to better ways to improve their curriculum? Did I miss them? Did I just happen to be in the wrong room number or maybe I didn’t take the right courses? Should I have researched before I moved towns to just go to what I assumed would be a better high school because it was in a nicer part of San Diego?
I’ll have to detour for a second to acknowledge I have had great teachers. But they were the minority (and are probably reading this - so hear me out).
I just want to know, where do you all work? Can I re-do my education? Starting from the beginning.
I started fighting for more technology in my classes in the sixth grade. I started a petition to send to the district to allow my class to have i-pods (the old ones, no cameras!). I e-mailed it to every single person I know and kept going when my teacher asked me to shut it down. Her class got them the following year, but I still pride myself with being the sole reason why.
In high school, I shared a google tablet in my AP Euro class. First class to get them. We only got about ten. My teacher had applied for a grant to have them. I was excited. This is it, we are moving forward.
Those tablets collected dust for nine months.
Then came in the Chrome books. My Spanish class was one of the first to get them in our school. We shared with multiple classes. This is it, we are moving forward.
Those Chromebooks were only used for Powerpoint's and essays.
I switched schools. There, every student had access to a Chromebook so we didn’t have to share. Or you could bring in your own device. Any device, because as it shows with I-Pad run districts, a laptop is not the only device that you can do schoolwork on. This is it, we are moving forward.
Only one of my three teachers touched them. Only one integrated them into her lesson plans.
Then I moved onto college which was a whole other playing field. About 99% of my teachers were anti-tech, to the point where they threatened dropping you from a class you PAID for, just for using laptops to take notes.
I’m sure I just sound like a complainer at this point. And I started high school five, almost six years ago. I’m sure a lot has changed, right? It has to.
My sister goes to my old high school. Now chrome books are given to every student, to be taken to and from school everyday.
She uses it for essays and presentation. That’s it. She also uses turnitin.com but has to also print a physical copy. Which is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Where are my SDCUE teachers to save her?
Why are teachers stuck in their ways? I really want to know. Why aren’t there more teachers who want to keep learning? Keep improving?
Why has the system failed me? Why have I missed out?
Many districts and schools have a technology plan that is sometimes posted on their website. It outlines their goals with technology. Sometimes it’s updated. Sometimes it’s not. But why aren’t places reaching for their goals?
How is replacing a pen for a laptop reaching any technology goals?
What needs to be done to inspire more teachers?
How many times do articles need to be shared and new lesson plans passed around for the stubborn teacher to try out a new technique?
Why can’t the teachers obsessed with sphereos, google add-ons, iMovie, padlet, seesaw and so much more be the majority?
Does anyone have the answer? Can we force people to learn?
Or do we keep depriving the majority of students?
My name is Alex. Technology preacher and puppy lover. Enjoy!