What Do They Want?

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.*

4 Comments Add yours

  1. missmac100 says:

    We “talked” last night on twitter about this topic. I agree. Teachers who are not using technology in their classroom feel very overwhelmed and feel like everyone is speaking some language they cannot learn fast enough. While I understand that teachers like to learn A website, A game, or AN experiment because it is an easier pill to swallow and manage, it gives them A lesson. What twitter has done for me and what I hope others could learn is to learn tools/ideas that can cover multiple areas of learning. This is where technology makes your job easier and much more exciting. BUT teachers need to see ONE example (or maybe two to see multiple uses) of a REAL teacher using it in every day lessons. If they can see the value and how it can make teaching/learning better, they are sold. They will then start seeing the bigger picture and endless uses of technology in education. Just my observations. 🙂

  2. Wow! Only 8%? I knew it was low, but 8%? Not sure why I was so surprised when I read that. Disheartening to say the least.

  3. I totally agree. Teachers are passionate about teaching and are always looking for ways to make what happens in their classrooms better. Helping them find tools and ideas to do that is a great idea. It is one of the ways that I got hooked into the blogosphere, because it made my classroom a better place.

    Looking forward to what you share! Thanks!


  4. Viviana says:

    Thanks a lot ! I got my degree two years a go. In my country education is so devastated but we have many wonderful teachers who want to make a difference in teaching… Here I am trying to learn as much as i can , learning all the time so that i can teach better avery class.

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