Todd’s Blog


The Importance of Support and Ability
March 7, 2008, 3:06 am
Filed under: ECI 831

As I began reading blogs tongight, one of the first one’s I read was Marlene’s, and her post of reflections from February 26 and 27. Her comment was general, but a couple of words really stuck out. It’s been a thought rolling through my head the last couple of weeks as we have listened to such remarkable people like Dean Shareski and Clarence Fisher. She talks about “teachers who get it, supportive adminstration, policies and time”. People like Darren Kuropatwa, Dean, and Clarence are obviously people that get it. But what about those who don’t? Those that don’t want to? Those that have other passions? These people tend to be dissenters. They don’t see the value of technology. They are either scared of it, too set in their ways to change, or don’t want to take the time necessary to learn. People like these can become roadblocks in our progress. Constantly questioning why we have to use the technology. How do we get through to them? Do we just go around them and try to get to the people who are willing to try?

Then what about the administrative support Marlene mentions? I’ve actually been told (a couple of years ago) that I have to watch overusing technology in my classes, that sometimes I focus too much on it. Administrators need to be willing to let teachers experiment and learn as long as the students are learning. Administrative support also not only needs to come from within a school, but on a division level as well. Someone like Dean is obviously in a position to be supportive and their division will no doubt excel in the ventures they dive into. What if that support is not there to the same extent? What if other divisions have ideas in a different direction such as less teacher support and more division mandated? What if they only seek out those that seek them? How do we educate division leaders to open up sites like YouTube? How can we use new software when the ability to install on a computer is restricted? When testing software has to go through a rigorous acceptance process?

Last but not least there is the time factor. There are those of us love technology, would love to use, but time is so precious. Darren mentioned the importance of family, the demands of the teaching profession, so many teachers being generalists, curriculum renewal. How do we find time to fit all this in and so much more? There are so many questions. I find trying to implement technology in a school can be frustrating without support. I want to do so much, but with teaching (which involves the expectation to coach) and administrative duties it is hard to fit everything in.

Now I don’t ramble on here just to complain. I just want to point out that there are many obstacles. They can be overcome, but people need to be realistic within their situations and abilities. I love technology yet I understand I will never be at the level of Clarence, Dean, Darren, Alec, and the many others I have come across in this class. I try to do the best job I can within my other responsibilities. Taking a class like this is one way I can learn and improve my use of technology. We can’t all be the best. We can strive to be the best we can be. Don’t get frustrated. Learn at your own pace. Do what you can do and do it as well as you can. Whatever your contribution, it will make a difference no matter how small. And above all, never let the dissenters win. Someday they may see the light!


6 Comments so far
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Todd, your blog hit home for me as I am an administrator and a classroom teacher. I feel like I am pulled in so many directions regarding technology. First and foremost I am a teacher who is responsible for providing the best learning environment fo the learners in my classroom. Technology has allowed me to offer a different forum for many students to showcase their understanding. I do it because it is good for kids. As an administrator I see the greater responsibility that comes with media awareness and literacy, not to mention cyberbullying. Not that these are not classroom issues, however in my administrative role I must deal with these issues at various levels. The bottom line is this, we have a responsibility to kids. Where do we draw the line in the sand? I have many of the same questions/concerns that you do.

Comment by Angie Balkwill

Yep. Time. Any teacher will fire that response at you when you mention these technologies. Sure, we advocate “embedding” and not an add on, but there needs to be a time commitment for training right?
It’s not only hard to be a change agent in our monolithic institution, but it becomes even harder when most teachers are playing Fred Flinstone through the classroom floor!

Comment by Shaun Loeppky

Our schools need variety. If everyone got it, I’d be worried. Right now, WE are the dissenters as much as those who fundamentally oppose the technology.

As you say, support is crucial, but no matter what the view, if good teaching and learning is the outcome, I think that’s the whole point.

Comment by Alec Couros

Your last paragraph is right on. It’s not about trying to emmulate others but developing a belief it what’s best for students but also what’s best for you as a teacher, leader, husband,father and so on. The fact is that there are so many great things happening and folks like yourself and me see all this and want change to happen now. Not realistic and maybe not even the best. I’ve switched from being very aggressive in my advocacy for change to working with teachers and administrators with where they are at right now. At the same time, my personal learning is modeled and peppered throughout my work with these people. Not in a showy or invasive way I hope but hopefully demonstrated the natural, seamless way I use technology everyday to not only be productive but to expand my learning beyond the walls of my local environment.

Comment by Dean Shareski

As I read your post, I can identify completely. With all of the thigs going on and new ideas to implement, one wonders how to accomplish it all. Find one idea and go with it. Eventually, you can try anotherone and so on.

Here’s a tip – you can take it or leave it. Try to use the time at school to the max. I read a short article once on how a top ecec. of some company only works 5-6 hours a day. I have found that if you are willing to change your routines somewhat, you can be more efficient as well. Skype me and we can talk more.

Comment by Dave Bircher

Great post Todd…I’m sure one that many, many teachers and administrators can relate to.

Finding balance is always a challenge, and I don’t think there are any easy answers. Don’t cut yourself short, though – you are likely a greater influence on your students and colleagues than you realize!

Comment by Tammy Sillers




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