Dave and Will and others have recently posted about sensing a new attitude towards education. They experience that change while mainly talking to large groups attending conferences â€“ conferences that are going to draw folks that probably already share their outlook. Iâ€™m seeing that resurgence too, but from a different population. I mentioned my feelings about that just last night.
What is important here is that I am experiencing that change at the local and even building level. Teachers in my school â€“ the ones least likely to embrace new ways of thinking about learning are the ones giving me the most encouragement. Admittedly, some, if not a lot of that change has come about because we have acquired digital whiteboards, laptops, cameras and more just this school year. And some of these reluctant integrators have had a new digital whiteboard screwed into the wall literally covering-up their old whiteboard forcing them to at least try using technology. Our principal also built into our budget about $175 per teacher for field trips this year â€“ it helped pay for our fourth grade trip up the mountain at Squaw Valley this fall.
So, yes, an influx of actual tech at your site can help – although weâ€™ve had 30 wireless laptops available here for 7 years â€“ and cameras and scanners and more, and they have rarely been used â€“ most have never used them even though we have had trainings and encouragement from administration that it was OK to use it even when the heat from NCLB was the hottest.
So what has changed? Maybe the few of us pounding away has helped. Certainly more teachers have their own home computers and high-speed access. More teachers at my school have young children now (weâ€™ve experienced a baby-boom of our own the last few years), are they seeing the light based on seeing their own kidsâ€™ futures? My principal has been pushing integrating tech (even though she is a novice â€“ she is trying hard to learn) and experiential teaching and making connections hard. Maybe â€¦ probably it is all these things.
But I am also seeing it from teachers that have attended classes and workshops Iâ€™ve taught recently from other schools â€“ even from schools where they tell me that their day is TOTALLY pre-scheduled by their principal. That when their principal walks through their room if it is not VERY obvious that they are employing one of several â€œprograms of learningâ€ they have in place, they are questioned and even reprimanded. Some of these teachers have started to work tech-as-a-tool for learning into these lessons to avoid suspicion. Others work it into their mandated half hour or 45 minute once a week computer lab time.
I also am hearing from some that they miss the creativeness of planning and implementing lessons totally designed by them. I feel this might actually be one of the biggest motivators for some. Learning and teaching as creative processes (what a concept!).
The point is that Iâ€™m seeing a change â€“ and it has infused me with vigor and encouragement. Maybe we are seeing a new horizon â€“ a new visual to pilot towards!