Saturday, November 18, 2006

Teachers Aren’t Tech Savvy: Digital Educators Wanted

With practical web applications, affordable hardware, and Web 2.0; technology emerged as a useful education tool for the classroom at the turn of the 21st century. As such, the goal of this blog is to help and inform educators and administrators about basic classroom technologies, emergent technologies, and classroom integration. The dilemma, of course, falls in the category of professional development. Teachers, media specialist, and administrators in many cases are not tech savvy.

Top Three Reasons “Most” Educators Aren’t Tech Savvy!

1. Most teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher learning (i.e. universities) have not provided sufficient tech training for educators.

2. School systems have not provided sufficient professional development (i.e. PD) for baby boomers or new educators.

3. Teacher Excuses: I don’t have the time. You can’t teach an old (sometimes) any teacher new tricks. I don’t do computers. My students won’t stay on task when we go to the media lab.

We will focus on number two of the aforementioned. School systems need to provide sufficient professional development in technology for willing teachers. The “spray and pray method” of PD for technology is all but useless. How do you transform a traditional school environment into one where teachers effectively use technology? Don’t use “spray and pray” PD. But, there is more to this than just ending the spray and pray practice of PD.

First, you have to have administrative and IT support in your school. Second, you have to get buy in from other teachers. Start with the teachers that know technology and get them on board. Next, you involve teachers that are fearless (e.g. if its going to promote learning they want onboard). Last, you have to provide productive PD for willing teachers. We need to move beyond the spray and pray method of PD. We should replace the generic; one size fits all, "spray and pray" method of PD with motivationally rich, personally relevant, PD experiences that involves willing educators.

Educational technology can provide a rich learning environment, if teachers are collaborative, help one another, and give up some of their personal time to become tech savvy. However, school systems must provide sufficient PD in technology for all willing participants if we are to successfully educate our students for the 21st century and beyond. Check out the K12onlineconference podcast entitled “Cultivating Digital Educators” by Foxworth, Bosch, and Geanangel for more information.

Relevant Links: “Cultivating Digital Educators”, Frieda Foxworth, Ron Bosch, John Geanangel, Global Horizons, Wesley Fryer,

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