Fear is a powerful emotion. It is the impetus of all of the “What if…. and What will happen….?” questions that come to the surface when something seemingly new and different is presented. It is what puts teachers into a cold sweat when they are asked to consider trying a new tech tool that could replace or enhance something that they are doing and potentially improve the experience for teacher and students alike. Fear causes teachers to hold on tighter to the illusion of the sense of control they are so conditioned to want and demand, because that is how it was when we all were in school. Fear keeps teachers from really seeing the change that is taking place in our society as a reality and not another phase in the proverbial pendulum of education. Read this opinion about connectedness that gives an interesting perspective on this idea.
I know this because I have been and still am to some degree that teacher. In my first year out of the classroom as a tech integrator, I am able to see the classroom experience from a different perspective. I am the one now who is asking teachers to try something new; to let me show them tools that could make life during the school day more interesting and engaging for their students; to show them that if they give up some “control” and allow students to have more independence and freedom that they can actually meet the needs of more of their students throughout the day. This requires a shift from teachers delivering information and all that is important to teachers facilitating learning by promoting and developing inquiry and thinking skills. A high school teacher writes of her experience with making this shift in her approach to time spent with her students and how this shift is something that she has always known was right for her and her students.
I was a conference this summer and a presenter put a quote on the screen that read, “You think integrating technology is expensive; try irrelavence.” I fear that teachers with very good intentions and who believe strongly in what they are doing are steadily becoming irrelavent by not embracing or at least acknowledging the world in which their students spend so much time.