Sunday, January 30, 2011

Teaching 2030: Cyberspace

I have to admit to being so envious of our new hires who seem confident, connected and excited about change! They have grown up in a connected world. I am from a different generation. I still remember when my family bought their first color television set (with 3 stations!) I started teaching before computers were even a thought on the educational horizon. All of the connectedness that this new generation takes for granted, I struggled to understand but it will be up to those of us that did not grow up with these technological advancements to lead the charge so that education will remain relevant to our students! Anyone who is even remotely connected has to realize the dramatic changes that are going to take place in the next twenty years! I watched my four year old granddaughter play a game in the car yesterday on her father's iphone and thought how different her world is from the one I grew up in. In order to engage this generation coming to us, schools have got to change.
The TeacherSolutions 2030 Team paints an exciting picture of how we will all be connected in twenty years and how our classrooms will expand to daily worldwide participation. However, the path from here to there is laden with pot holes! Kenneth Bernstein offers this insight: "I admit that I do not use technology as well as I should, even though I spent 20+ years as a certified data processor in the private sector before I became a high school teacher. I would love to use it more, but the school system approach to technology is archaic. The computers are so loaded down with levels of security and pieces of irrelevant software that the first time a student signs on to a particular computer it takes at least 10 minutes before s/he can do anything constructive." I have certainly moaned and groaned often and loudly - and gotten nowhere - about this same problem in my own classroom. I am not suggesting that technologists throw caution to the wind, but I do think they should be investing in many small pockets of teachers who are willing to do the extra work to see where the technology leads us. There certainly are the beginnings of a few schools with grants around the country that are experimenting with the possibilities. It is even harder to be patient when you hear of what can be done and what is being done. I can't stand that my own students do not have those same opportunities! We are praying for visionaries who can integrate education and technology and who are risk-takers. I believe that teachers can and should be trusted and when they are not trustworthy, then they should be quickly ushered out of the profession! I have no tolerance for teachers who do not use the public trust to do all that they can do to make a positive difference.
I will continue to complain - not something I really enjoy - or maybe it sounds better to say I will continue to advocate for change (it still sounds like complaining!) I will try to take every opportunity to use what technology is offered to me. I am lucky to be in a school that has an instructional technologist and a media specialist who are tireless in their efforts to continue to bring us cutting edge information, who meet us where we are and fit the teaching into every little corner of time. Even with all that said, the frustrations are sometimes overwhelming. I have to admit, however, that reading that the group of teachers on the TeacherSolution 2030 Team believe that in 20 years much of our technology woes will be resolved does put a smile on my face. Oh, that it becomes reality... quickly!

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I can't wait to read this text! Your passion is what drives your voice in advocating for change.