Reason #8 Why Teachers Are Slow to Adopt Technology And Different Methods Of Teaching

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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6 Responses to Reason #8 Why Teachers Are Slow to Adopt Technology And Different Methods Of Teaching

  1. mrmayo says:

    Hi Brian,

    Did you get the chance to also show off your student blogs to these dubious teachers? Having read many of your student blogs, the work speaks for itself. Another point is technology can be extra work, but it saves massive time down the road. Using blogs is a perfect way to organize student writing. Once set up, with a template and RSS, blogs make it much easier for me as a teacher to track, read, and monitor student writing.

    Do you really have lap-top carts going unused in your building? I’m jealous~ George

  2. cpbw says:

    This is a very relevant blog. When having similar discussion with teachers in my local geographic area, they often echo similar comments as those listed in this blog (although our new programs are different). When discussing this matter with members from my network or online communities, we all agree that what would be ideal is that all teachers (and members of our society) adopt technology and online tools. If we integrate them into our personal lives, then the classroom integration or workplace integration will be that much easier. Some people tell me that what is required is a generational replacement, however, I feel this is not necessarily the case. Kids don’t go to a web 2.0 or technology seminars and become proficient while everybody else sits back. They manipulate, explore and become familiar with tools that are relevant to them. If we want people, teachers included, to adopt technology and to shift (or evolve) the way learning takes place, I feel that we need to take the necessary time and energy to become familiar with it in context and then to consider possible integrations in our classrooms.

  3. DefogMyBlog says:

    Golly I feel like I am listening to my sister who teaches and so to a certain extent i understand their reaction. I refused to teach and love keeping up with technology.

  4. Cathy Nelson says:

    I am so tired of lame excuses. Our kids are NOT engaged because they sit in rows and listen to a charlie brown teacher waa-waaaa-waa-waa-wa. Year after year we have staff development on new techniques and programs, and most only give apassing effort. The only effective teachers I know of are those that give students the chance to be engaged–and that is from planning engaging lessons, not using the same old tired lesson plans that all their student’s siblings have already had. When will students and parents demand more?

  5. Cathy, in regard to your last sentence, the parents at our school are demanding more. As for the students, the looks on their faces (total friggen boredom) is the sign that the students are demanding more. I have been reading the PTA minutes and they want more for their kids.

    I recently added Gaggle.net into my classroom. Wow what a success this has been. I was so worried that the parents were going to be against their 6th grade teacher getting them e-mail addresses. Boy was I wrong! I sent the approval note home (1 page duplexed w/ spanish and english; thanks for the tip Brian) on a Friday. Bam. All but 2 came back signed on Monday.

    I, like Brian, have a laptop cart but with 22 machines. I am fortunate. The other teachers I have to share it with, do not use it. They too are stressed with prep and don’t bother. They think I use it just because I’m “techy” and it comes easy to me. They are right. But I do care about the future of my classroom and will sacrifice a longer prep time in the beginning if that’s what it takes to keep them engaged and loving their school.

    Mr. Mayo, I am going to look into RSS’ing our new class blog. Great idea.

    By the way. I’m a first year teacher. I’m tired and stressed with prep but every time I produce a lesson that uses tech as a tool the kids go nuts and want more of it. The ESL kids go deeper into discussion, SpEd kids are involved, and everyone is adding to the mix.

    I’m not sure how to sell it.

    Thanks Brian.

  6. Penelope says:

    You’re right — to some it can seem like only another program to learn, and by the time they’ve taken the time to master it, someone else will tell them to drop all of that and do something completely different.0

    I’m a third-year teacher myself, and in my building I get seen as a techy, but I know I’m only taking baby steps compared to where I should be. It’s not that I don’t know the technology, it’s that I’m not sure how to bring it into the classroom. I see examples that you and others use, and I try to think about how to incorporate them into my classroom, with my curriculum and my kids, and often end up running against walls.

    A huge part of my problem is that I teach to a state-mandated and state-tested curriculum in high school social studies. Just when students should be debating and evaluating and drawing their own conclusions about history, I’m supposed to teach them a curriculum of names, dates, deeds and battles with little to no higher thinking involved. I come across great ideas and try to plan to use them, only to realize that there’s no way I can use them in the week and a half I get to teach and test the entirety of the topic.

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