At a training our staff attended on writing this last Friday, I brought up, in response to a question posed by the trainer, that my students blog and what a powerful learning experience it was for them. She then made several other references to that fact during the rest of her presentation.
During a break we had a quick discussion at my table, and several teachers agreed that one of the reasons they don’t embrace using tech more (since we have laptop carts and cameras, scanners, video cameras and much more), was that with all the “programs” we have been trained in (CELL, ExCELL, SIOP, GLAD and the various language arts and math trainings we have had since our new adoption 2 years ago), they just don’t have the stomach for more prep.
“I worked hard for 2 years making all my GLAD units and other materials so that I would be done with them and could just re-use them year after year, with some tweaking, and not have so much prep. I did it and now I’m just done with spending so much time prepping such a heavy load. Adding tech, I’m afraid would have me almost starting over … I’m just not going to do that.” Was the feeling of most of the small group.
My first inclination was to raise the roof. “Don’t you realize that this is your students’ future!? That without these skills they will be at a disadvantage!? That most of these programs you were trained in is the same stuff we’ve been doing for years in a more concentrated form? That what we are talking about is also doing things differently!? URRRRGGGG!!!!!”
Here’s the rub. I understand to a point, because I’ve been there with them during all these trainings and pressure to do and use these programs “correctly and precisely,” – so I understand somewhat their tiredness and burnout on starting up another in a long line of programs (which is how some see this). I mean we were sitting in a training where one of the things they were being told was that now they had to leverage more time into their totally cramped schedule to have their students use the techniques they were being shown (which were fine techniques, many of which I have used).
It made me realize, again, that teachers have been through a lot these last few years.
On the other hand, more and more of our teachers have started to take at least “baby steps” to using tech and discovery learning. When you walk through classrooms you see the digital photos taken of or by students for projects they have done. You see the “class books” – compilations of student writing that have been word processed and illustrated by students’ drawings, but also digital media. So it is happening. Maybe as we get further away from this intensive program period we have gone through, attitudes will change and the tech is waiting to be used, not something it would be cool to have in the future … it’s here now (in more ways than one).
Learning is messy!
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