A pundit once commented that while a medical doctor from the 19th century would be lost in a modern hospital and a 19th century banker would not be able to function in a bank today, a 19th century teacher could just pick up the chalk and perform just fine in the 21st century classroom.
I'm here to tell you that just ain't so.
Here is the list of techie things Mankato's new teachers needs to master very, very quickly to be able to do their basic jobs:
- E-mail/Shared calendaring (Outlook/Entourage)
- District email lists are and how they may be used
- Resources and forms can only be found on our district website
- Attendance reporting software (Classxp), network passwords
- How to access online file storage and back up files
- Online research resources and library catalog (United Streaming, Net Trekker, Atomic Learning)
- Ethics and Acceptable Use Policy
- How to find a video and order a videotape/DVD (online)
- How to locate and interpret the results of our value-added tests (NWEA) and access information on their students in our datamining program (Sagebrush Viewpoint)
- How to complete online IEPs for Special Ed teachers
- How to use our reading software (Read Naturally and Accelerated Reader)
- How to use to the online gradebook (IntegradePro) and set it up for parent viewing (ParentConnect)
- For an increasing number of teachers, How to use to the IWB
- How to use to the create and maintain the required teacher webpage
All this before thinking about basic productivity tools like word processing or the use of any technology for instructional uses with kids. (So, technology has not revolutionized education to many folks disappointment. But it has changed it. Still automating rather than infomating, as Zuboff would describe.)
Up until now our department had a two hour block during the standard two day orientation to help bring new teachers up to speed on technology. It was almost enough time to distribute lots of handouts and tell them they need to learn this stuff fast. "Good luck and call somebody if you get stuck."
Next year for the first time we have budgeted dollars to pay our new hires and some instructors for a full day of new teacher "technology" orientation. It's not enough, of course, but it's better.
I think we should get a humanitarian award!
Photo above from the Library of Congress American Memories collection.