Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What Do We Really Believe?

I spent the last week or so in meetings. In my own district I met with administrators to talk about our Tech Plan for the 2016-2017 school year. Outside of my district I met with Tech Integrationists from our area to talk about student tech use for learning.

I walked away from all of these meetings with a stomach ache.

I'm thrilled to be talking about tech for learning and to be adding more student devices each year. I emphatically believe in the power of technology to change education for the better: Communication, Collaboration, Problem Solving, Creativity, Passion Driven Learning, Student Centered Learning. Community Involvement, Solving Real World Problems. . . .

However, I've been at this game for a very long time, and I'm very concerned that we are still asking the same questions:
  • How do we buy more stuff?
  • What stuff should we buy?
  • What will it cost?
  • How do we sustain that?
  • How do we get teachers on board?
  • Should we go 1:1 or keep all our equipment in-house? . . .

In addition, the arguments are also the same year after year:
  • We don't use the tech we have effectively.
  • Administrators need to understand the changes required not just pay lip service.
  • Teachers must buy in and give up what they've always done.
  • Teachers must be held accountable.
  • We have to continue to support AIW, Standards Based Grading, Standardized Test Analysis, Curriculum Maps, Poverty Issues, English Language Learning. You name the initiatives or concerns in your district.
  • We don't have the time or personnel to effectively provide tech integration support.
  • Our students don't have reliable Internet service at home.
  • Tech becomes a time-waster in an ineffective teacher's classroom. . . .

I take it back. My stomach doesn't hurt. It's my heart.

Why are we still making so many of our tech plans in a spreadsheet as if it's only numbers of devices and dollars and cents that matter? Why are we still saying, "We just don't have the time," when we know that if we believe in the power of technology for learning as our spreadsheets clearly say we do, technology should be a part of every other educational initiative we are working on in our districts - no exceptions.

With all these thoughts swirling around, I ask you:

If we don't have the time or the inclination to really change education, why are we spending all this time and money on technology for students? Why?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Writer's Block

I've taken a very long vacation from writing. I'm not sure why. I'm still full of thoughts. I'm still reading the latest news and research. I'm still fighting the good fight in my schools. I still think education could be transformed for the better if we would just validate as worthwhile the current possibilities for learning - now that we aren't limited to printed pages and resident experts.

However, for some reason I haven't been able to formulate an interesting thought or argument on paper the past few months. It's strange actually. As those of you who know me would testify, I'm not usually at a loss for words.

Anyway, this post marks my return to the written word. It says nothing profound other than sometimes you just have to get off the couch and step outside to get started. Here's to getting back to putting my thoughts on paper. We all need to be reflecting, and blogging is a great way to do that.