Thoughts on “You can’t be my teacher”

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Videos
Tags: ,

I came across this video the other day while looking for videos on Google Earth. I had never seen it before, but it certainly made me stop and think. The message is clear: if you’re a teacher who is unprepared to teach using computers and the internet, make way for someone who is.

Is it true that computers and the internet are so vital? The authors of this article, along with countless others, would have you believe that it isn’t.

In my experience there seems to be two schools of thought on teachers and technology. You are either adamantly and passionately involved in trying to integrate technology wherever possible and appropriate, or you brush off the importance of technology in the classroom.  There seems to be very little room for compromise.

To me, the answer is glaringly obvious. I think there needs to be a middle ground on this debate. I am a huge advocate of using the internet in schools wherever possible, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog in the first place. Technology IS important, since it is such an integral part of our daily lives. Will it solve all the problems of our education system? No way. Technology should be used to enhance lessons and assignments, to reach out to students by demonstrating that we are living in their world, but it is not our savior.

The teacher is the really important part of this equation. The teacher has to be the one to use technology effectively in their classroom while not getting lost in it. All too often I have seen a teacher, inexperienced in using web 2.0 in their classroom, ambling overzealously into a lesson using some technology that they don’t fully understand just to say their lessons are up-to-date. It seems to me that this is just as damaging (if not more so), than not using technology in the first place.

  1. Cristin says:

    I work for a cyber school and spent the day yesterday sitting in on a SMART board workshop. There were many ambitious teachers there trying to wrap their brains around the endless uses of the SMART board. After the presentation my coworkers and I were discussing the uselessness the school district purchasing SMART boards for our system if they are not willing to provide ongoing support. I don’t believe a 4 hour workshop once a year is going to cut it. Most of the teachers in our system end up using their board as a white board or at best a glorified tv. That doesn’t really count as incorporating technology in the classroom, does it?

    So it’s not just the teacher’s willingness to use technology or agree that it needs to be a part of our childrens education, it’s also up to our administrators to provide the support necessary to educate our professionals.

    • Well said, I completely agree with you.

      The responsibility for using technology does need to be shared, among teachers, students, parents, and administrators. I’ve seen many the interactive whiteboard used a a “glorified tv”, and you’re right- it doesn’t really count as using technology. In those cases it always feels to me like the district is purchasing the technology to give the appearance of being tech-friendly, but not really knowing how to follow it up to create real integration.

      On the other side of the coin, I’ve seen many teachers who have had ample training in technologies like a SMART board, and have continued to not use it to its full potential. I can’t think of a good reason for this other than stubbornness: it’s always been done a different way so why should I change? I’ve always thought this was really sad, since that money could be used in a better place, or the SMART board could have been allotted to a teacher who would make much better use of it.

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