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Hughes - Tech Learning Principles

I like this article a lot, not just because it happens to be written by the professor :) I spend a great deal of time working with teachers convincing them that they do not need to be techies to be integrationists. They always talk about how technology just isn't their thing or how they don't know enough. While this may be true to an extent, I have long been explaining that most of what students need from their teachers is the content and direction.

I have worked with many teachers to connect technology learning to what they are teaching. When teachers learn that they can collect data about temperature or monarch butterfly migration with the ease of a few mouse clicks, they realize quickly that the power of technology is organizational rather than technical. Finding the resources, framing the project to focus students' time and energy, and clearly defining the expectations are far greater technology skills than knowing how to create macros in Excel. Not that I don't believe in technical skill acquisition as well, I do, but I believe that it comes with need. For example, when a teacher learns that the data they need can be accessed from the internet, they need a way to organize it. Now they are ready to learn spreadsheeting because it is connected to a project that has meaning to them.

The other key element of this article to me was the two factors that explain why teachers still feel ill prepared to use technology tools for teaching of content. The first factor about school leaders not providing a clear vision is a huge piece to me. We have recently allocated a large sum of money for technology in our district. Despite constant clamoring from educators to first define how the technology would be used in classrooms before deciding what tools to buy, the administration went ahead with their "plan". When educators vocalized a need to prioritize support by providing prof. development and resource people, the administration prioritized hardware. As this hardware is placed in classrooms throughout the district, our teachers will be ill prepared to use it because no one has defined how to use them and for what purpose. Those who do use the hardware will be groping in the dark.