An amazing thing happens when the school bell rings in the morning. Teachers in my school, and all over the country, turn down the ringers on their iPhones, log out of their e-mail, minimize the website they were viewing, and otherwise completely remove themselves from all electronics. At the same time students are stuffing mp3 players, iPod Touches, and cell phones in their pockets and book bags in fear of confiscation. It’s interesting how we are all using technology in our lives with relative ease but when it comes to the classroom there is a disconnect. (Pun Intended)
Schools are spending millions every year on SMART/Promethean boards, projectors, laptops, iPads, and desktops. We spend countless hours in tech trainings to learn new programs and tools. What I have found in my school is that the programs and equipment are often underutilized. As my building technology representative, I have made it my mission to help as many as I can find ways to use technology more and more effectively. Throughout the year I have offered suggestions and made myself an example in hope that others would follow. I have hosted workshops and given direct instruction. Now that we approach the end of the year, it is time to reflect on my progress. How is it going? In the words of my students; epic fail. Many excuses have been offered; “I don’t have time, I don’t get tech stuff, the kids will take too long to learn it, I don’t have time to learn it.” What’s up with that? Technology surrounds our lives, except in school? Now what?
I have a proposal based on two assumptions. I assume that if you are reading this blog you have background integrating technology and that you have at least some interest in helping others use technology in their classrooms. My proposal? I have a started a Google Doc where we can all collaborate and share ways to help our peers gain knowledge and confidence using technology. It is my hope that you will see something that will inspire you to keep pushing for everyone to try and use technology to enhance their teaching.
Chris LaBarge is currently a fifth grade teacher and frontline technology staff member at a rural elementary school in Greene County, New York. His blog, Tech Talk with Mr. LaBarge, is an attempt to inspire teachers in his district to try something new and expand their horizons.