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late at night...

Late at night is probably the worst time to post to this blog, but it always seems to be that this is when I can actually sit down and pound out some thoughts. Unfortunately the reliability of said thoughts at such an hour is always questionable.

The discussion deftly provoked by Scott, Jill, and Stephanie hit pretty close to home. Specifically, it brought directly into play views held by my father (a 5th grade teacher, ready to retire in the upper half of his fifties from a small school district in a state far far away) and my wife, a media specialist in a growing suburb of the Twin Cities.

My dad often grumbles about technology being pushed on the kids without regards to their "real" needs (being much more focused on "the basics" of reading and math that his relatively lower income students need, and pretty much a technophobe himself). My wife, on the other hand, complains more about the staff that refuses to check their email or brush off her attempts at cross-curricular integration and collaboration because the classroom teacher is to uncomfortable when faced with such a complicated web interface as the Google search page.

My dad does have his valid points. To my inexpert observer's eye (though I was a product of that same school district), the district DOES have a rather wrong-headed approach to technology. It seems that most of what is being taught is touch typing, and whether the library still uses old card catalog drawers or computer terminals, the students only get about 6 hours of library instruction PER YEAR in his building. My dad doesn't have an email account and has probably only adapted to some online search engines because of the switch that the public library made to computer catalogs 15+ years ago. He is no more likely than "Phorget It" Phil to be able to integrate technology into his lessons than he would be eager to try.

My wife, on the other hand, being in her late twenties and having done her undergrad studies on a campus that required laptops for each student, then continued into a library and media education MA, sees lots of opportunity to integrate technology into teaching methods and use it to reach more students in more ways.

I guess it still comes down to what I argued last week in my post. It really has to do with how you use the technology. Just having the boxes in the building does not do what you need. On the other hand, you might really find that some teachers, good teachers, will find it to be a real crimp in their style to be "forced" into using tools that they do not themselves feel comfortable using.