In this article the author refers to another article written by Karl Fisch, “In it, Fisch points out an all-too-troubling tendency on the part of teachers to take great pride in their inability to be efficient users of technology. He also wonders whether being technologically illiterate today is analogous to being unable to read or write in the early 20th Century.” I tend to see my colleagues using the same excuse to not try new technology or experiment with new software. They also use excuses as I don’t have the time or I’m already overwhelmed with new stuff that I have to use.
A special education teacher is quoted as saying, “I think as educators, we must pick and choose what is most important for our students, in terms of what will benefit them and their learning. I realize now how using technology to teach a child with writing and reading disabilities will benefit them tremendously when they learn how to type a document, listen to information through our computer's speakers, or e-mail me when they are confused or troubled.” As teachers, we should use our judgment when looking at what might work with our students. Since we are the ones in the classroom with them and understand the student’s strengths and weaknesses, we should pick programs that might help the student the best. The only way we would know this is by actually working with the programs and trying them out. I have found that although it took extra time to learn the programs, it save me time in the long run and actually freed me to work more closely with my students.
A high school teacher states, “What fear exists among educators (teachers, administrators, etc.) toward technology is, I suspect, part of a larger, older fear of loss of control…when it comes to technology, many in education find themselves wading into waters where it's the students who are more competent and comfortable; where they [who are used to being in front— literally] are already behind, and the conditions keep changing. Some find it exhilarating; others are so afraid of drowning they panic— which, of course, causes them to sink faster.” I think that is a major key to all of this. Many teachers are afraid. When people are afraid, they tend to be paralyzed. I feel that teachers are afraid that the students know more than them but I don’t see that as something to be feared. I see it as an opportunity to learn more. Maybe it is because I feel that learning is an exchange of ideas and if the person with the knowledge is younger than me, which is okay. (Of course, as I age, the amount of people with more knowledge than me increases tremendously!).
I guess my final thought is that we need to push our fears aside and look at what is in the best interest of our students. Yes, it may take time, and yes there is a learning curve. But that goes with the job of being a teacher. We need to be examples for our students and we constantly are asking them to take risks by trying new things and learning new knowledge. Shouldn’t we be the models for this thinking? I believe if we do this, our experiences in the classroom would be more successful.
Photo credit: Reading Skills in the Computer Lab by Old Shoe Woman