I always joke that my super power is eaves dropping & people watching. It is probably just my ADHD but I am good at being in a room (or even twitter stream) full of people & picking out idiosyncrasies of most people. With that I can even figure out personalities. It is just me. To be honest it is a survival mechanism, I quickly figure out who I would clash with or who would not appreciate my odd humor.
A month ago I was asked by someone “what do teachers really want to know & care about.” Easy if I think about the twitter/blogosphere world. But something else was added to that question, “teachers outside of the “edchat” crowd.” Stop right now, this is not anything negative about edchat or anyone involved. You know as well as I that we are a small (very small) population of teachers. The day I was asked this I was presenting at the state tech conference (AETC) and immediately began observing. This is kinda where the “Get Your Hair Wet” post came from. The idea people want to learn on different levels (Sprinklers, Waders, and Cannonballs – http://bit.ly/hairwet) is something that has been on my mind since then as well. Since that post I have attended 2 more conferences, ISTE11 and my district’s tech camp. Every time I walk into the doors of these conferences that question is still on my mind.
So I THINK (notice word I used here) I have figured out. In the blogosphere we focus on pedagogy, seemless tech integration, reform (that is a big one), and change. That is wonderful. We need that level of passion and commitment from people in our field. But I think there is this majority of educators who love their job & want to do it well. They do what their boss/district suggest/wants them to do. They teach kids, kids make good grades, they love these kids, kids move on and new ones come in. There is not one thing wrong with this. At one time we were there. So what do these teachers want? Well when it comes to technology they want something they can use now & suggestions how to use it. They want tools, apps, sites, etc. I see (and at times join in) complants about resistance to technology integration or any kind of change. Teachers are not resisting technology just to tick us off or because they do not want the best for their kids. They resist because they don’t know where to start. Their boss says they must use it & they must now somehow do something that is not natural to them.
What do we do about it? We give them what they want. Yep that easy, we start with a few “cool” tools, we show them how to use it using good pedagogy, not doing the same old stuff just putting stilettos on it, and let them try it. Baby steps. You attend a tech conference the sessions with Web 2.0 tools in the title will be fuller than a session about changing your teaching. This is ok. Think about it, why did you join twitter or start reading blogs? Most (not all) will admit to wanting new websites to use or someone told you about the learning that was happening there. Once there, little by little new passion comes out. This will happen with those teachers who are trying out wikis or glogs. Keeps giving them more tools until that passion starts showing.
Hey, I may totally off here. If I’m completely off and looking at this incorrectly, please use the comment box below & tell me what you think! I do know my passions are technology and teaching teachers about technology. Unfortunately I still am not in a position where I get to do that everyday, but many of you are. Don’t get frustrated because change or adaption is not happening quick enough, be patient.
This week I started a new blog that focuses on these Web 2.0 tools & apps. http://toolsandappsyall.edublogs.org/ It is all I can do now, but if it gets one teacher a step closer to join the 8% of teachers that integrate technology into their classroom I am beyond satisfied!
*By the way want proof people care more about tools & apps, I posted a post on this blog 1 hour before launching new blog & it has received double amount of hits as the post here. I think part of that os we are more than likely to share with non-techies a tool they can use.*