I honestly didn't expect the amount of reaction to last Wednesday's post, Becoming George, that I got. And little of it was sympathetic to my George-like tendencies. While all the responses are worth reading, I would like to dig a little deeper into one issue raised.
Sue, Miguel, Jeff and Mark all pretty much took me to task for not allowing teachers to experiment or to be creative with their computers. (Please take time to read their eloquent and compelling comments.)
Now one of the problems with being an administrator is that you start thinking like one after a while. The lure of the dark side (or as Miguel would say "Gadget Gestapo, the Network Nazi") is formidable. Here are some questions that may get more at the heart of the control vs. creativity question. Questions I don't have a good answer to. Questions that come from the dark side of the force...
- Does technology management come down to a choice between reliability/security and creativity/experimentation? If it is not possible to have both, which best serves student interests?
- Why should a teacher be given any more latitude to be "creative" with a computer than an accountant? Why should a teacher not be required to use district adopted software, much as they are required to use district adopted reading series or textbooks?
- Should a teacher experiment rather using established best practices? (A medical doctor who "experiments" on his patients would be considered unethical - that job is for specially trained research scientists.)
I am especially interested in the last question. So much of what is being written about in the educational blogosphere (at least what I read) promotes the experimental use of technology with students. At what point do we need to ask ourselves is this healthy for students? Without studies showing that student blogging or writing in wikispace or the cool thing du jour increases student learning, am I acting like a true professional? What is the difference between untried methods and crackpot methods except one's point of view? (If I wear green socks and stand on my head as I deliver lectures in Latin, I know student achievement will go up. But your ideas about using computers with kids are wacko!)
Answers? I'm looking for answers!