Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

Teachers and Technology

The big question seems to be: how do we get teachers using technology in the classroom? My answer: get them using technology fullstop. I think that teachers who are not users of technology at home or in their workplace, not only lack the confidence to begin in front of a teenage audience (most of whom are more proficient with technology than the teacher) but also lack the ability to imagine ways to use it. Using different pieces of technology on a regular basis allows your mind to soar beyond the mechanics of it and into that creative and innovative place where fun, deep learning happens.

I am incensed that the government is giving laptops to students before teachers – how are the teachers supposed to build proficiency and get creative with how to use laptops in the classroom if they can’t get access to a laptop or computer of their own?

My brilliant brainwave for how to encourage the use of blogs and wikis in the classroom is deceptively simple: I have created a wiki for the programs for my faculty.  This will allow us to work collaboratively, will allow the teachers to get used to using a wiki as part of their working world, and give them space to imagine how to use it in the classroom while receiving resources and instruction. This blog is also part of the plan, as I hope to encourage my faculty to commence writing their own blogs, or at the very least, commenting on mine.

So now I have one week left of holidays to put my plan into action – I need to flesh out the wiki and have it ready for fun-filled wiki adventuring on our Staff Development Day.

More thoughts on teachers and technology – encourage them to join twitter, communicate by email, start a blog of their own and go searching through the videos on teacher tube (http://www.teachertube.com). None of these things are solely about using technology in the classroom – but all of them lead there.

P.S. If you’re wondering what the heck a wiki is, then go to http://www.teachertube.com and type wiki into the search bar. There you will find some fantastic videos that will explain quite simply what a wiki is all about, as well as some examples of wikis at use in the classroom. As a first look, I recommend two videos: one called ‘What is a PBWiki?’ and “Wikis in Plain English’. (I would embed them in this post if I could make the darn thing work! lol)

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April 20, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. The only way is to use. I’ve moved from a school very very much connected via e-networks, to one that has purchased labtops for every teacher, yet the links are simply not in place. I will be interested in the wiki for programs. I first started hyperlinking from the learning and teaching program to the resources, like a worksheet or annotation, just using MS word, a few years ago.

    I always go back to my father when I talk about technology and teaching. He is a motor mechanic. For example, he can now plugs the car into a little computer, and it suggests problems. He now employs technology every day. If he refused to embrace technology, he wouldn’t have a job. He can still do a grease and oil change, (he can also drive the car for ten minutes and get a good idea what is wrong with it) but the technology has made his job secure. Imagine if we could only do a teaching ‘grease and oil change’?? Well that is exactly what happens in MOST classrooms….Sorry, I could rant for hours…

    Comment by Troy | April 20, 2009 | Reply

    • I agree that the only way to get better at it, to learn it, to be able to imagine different ways to use it in the classroom, is just to USE technology. Hence my dastardly master plan that will engage my faculty with technology outside of the classroom as part of our working lives and hopefully start to grow that confidence to experiment within the classroom. I LOVE the analogy of your father the mechanic, it is perfect. Reminds me too of the old sayiing about not wanting to go to your doctor if they are not up with the latest advances in medicine – I mean really, we could still be dealing with leeches lol – if we are professionals (which of course teachers are) then we need to respond professionally to change.

      Comment by mgiddins | April 21, 2009 | Reply

      • Darcy Moore has an even better comparison. A photo of a doctor’s operating theatre/surgery 100 years ago and a classroom. Now, a doctor’s surgery now and a classroom now. Which one has adapted to the 21st century? The doctor’s or the teacher’s? Some people, teachers even, might say that the doctor’s job is about life or death. Well I would hope teachers would be the first to state that education is also about life. Imagine if a doctor flatly, openingly refused to use technology to get the best for you? Well we could say the same about teachers. Of course, the debate is more than that simple example. I know plenty of teachers who have been burnt by technology and that is partly a DET and funding issue…but if we can say ‘look what we can do with a little, imagine if we had a lot’….
        I totally agree that we are professionals, but we should take collective action so our classrooms are 21st century classrooms, not just action for more money.

        Comment by Troy | April 21, 2009


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