About 5 years ago at this time I was writing the draft of my book The Classroom Teacher's Technology Survival Guide and posting snippets from it for Blue Skunk reader reaction.
Last Monday our district leadership team had a conversation about human resistance to change and I offered the sentiments that this post expressed.
Being an old fart in education, there seems to be little new under the sun...
This too shall pass
As veteran classroom teacher I dreaded my administrator going to a conference. Invariably she would return with a new educational “silver bullet” for improving teaching and learning and expect us teachers to implement it. This usually meant a ton of additional work despite being already very, very busy actually teaching. And unfortunately, these new process, techniques and plans were abandoned when the next “silver bullet” rolled around. Yesterday it was Outcomes Based Education. Today it is probably Essential Learning Outcomes.
A survival strategy than many of adopted was keep doing what we’d always been doing but use the vocabulary of the new thing. We’d keep quiet during staff development sessions and quietly pray, “This too shall pass.” It was difficult not to become cynical about any change effort in school.
The use of information technologies in schools is a different matter. As we look at society in general, technology has had and continues to have a powerful impact on the way things are being done. To think that medical CAT scans, online banking and shopping, or computerized diagnostics of motor vehicles is a “passing fad” is erroneous. And to think that the use of technology in schools is a “passing fad” doesn’t make any sense either.
Classroom teachers have a finite amount of energy and time to devote to change. So why not invest in the kinds of changes that will with us, not until the next “silver bullet” comes along, but for the remainder of our careers? While technology does change – sometimes at a seemingly impossibly fast pace – the basics of its use in education will be with us for many years.
It’s the basic use of technology in the classroom that this book is about. It’s written for teachers who do not consider themselves technology enthusiasts, but still want to harness the power of the tools and strategies that can truly improve their instruction and their student’s learning.
If you are a teacher who wants the benefits of technology use but who also wants to lead a normal life away from a keyboard and monitor, read on.