Today, (10-29-10) Scott McLeod had a great post that really made me think about a couple of things. First, about how we allocate and organize our coaching in schools in my district. Secondly, about how we set each other up for failure by labeling each other in derogatory ways. Third, about how can we support each other in these mediums instead of beating each other up, really there's just no value in that in the long run.
The following was a comment from Joe Bower and subsequent response from Scott.
"TECHNOLOGY + POOR PEDAGOGY = ACCELERATED MALPRACTICE" Joe Bower
I actually like Joe’s pithy phrase a lot but, as I said in my comment: we usually have to give people the time and space to transition from old practices to new. This usually means that new uses of technology look very much at the beginning like old educational practices but with a few more bells and whistles - what Bernajean Porter likely would call 'Adapting Uses' rather than 'Transforming Uses' [see http://bit.ly/porterspectrum]
Here was my intial response to Scott,
@mcleod, makes me think mayB we need 2 C ourselves as brand new teachers again, which is FRIGHTENING 4 most, b/c whr R the mentors? #edtech
So what are we doing to mentor and coach up folks? It seems to me that we are doing very little of that in our schools. If we are fortunate to have full time instructional coaches in our schools, it's been my experience that these folks while sound in pedagogy, lack transformative technology integration skills. So why would I as a teacher that has been teaching for a number of years submit myself to the crazy, scary, insecure feeling that I had my first day of teaching all over again? Why should I put myself in the postion of vulnerability that we in the ed tech community believe is a necessity in today's classroom?
If you believe like me that there is tremendous power in technology in curing many of the ills of our classrooms and schools, then we need to do something. I can jump around throughout a given week and find some tremendous thinkers and educators trying to do some heavy lifting for the rest of us, with no sense of entitlement or credit given. The concept and philosophy of sharing as much as we can, because what comes back is powerful and valuable, is on stage all the time. Here is a great list of the twitter chats that are available throughout the week in a Google Calendar format (add it today!) There are amazing folks that we can lean on in the ed tech/curriculum world. Stand on the shoulders of giants. I think about the issues in the schools like meeting the needs of special education students and I look to folks like Deven Black and the powerful #spedchat going on. Folks conversing, sharing, and trying to help each other out, but the number of people in this and other chats is so small compared to the number of people looking for answers, ideas, and solutions. Looking for ways to meet the needs of English Language Learners in your classroom? Look no further than the great minds ofLarry Ferlazzo and Miguel Guhlin, who not only get it, but LOVE to share with us all! And yes, there's a chat for that #ellchat. Core curriculum subjects are represented in #mathchat, #scichat, etc. But the folks doing some amazing things are also trying to share. In Math, you have the Khan Academy and Dan Meyer; who rocked an awesome tedx talk awhile back that will make you stop in your tracks and say, yeah, we should probably think more about that. Science has some great thinkers doing great things, like Glen Westbroek, English has Angela Maiers, and Zac Chase among others. Humanities has Russell Tarr and Diana Laufenberg leading and sharing some great stuff. The Open Source movement has Alec Couros and Dave Cormier, and the thinkers and thought pushers like Bud Hunt and Becky Fisher are pushing thinking to new levels. I could go on and on, barely even scratching the surface of the folks that are out there, but you get the point. There are folks out there looking to help, wanting to help, and not judging you for being new a bit.
Why do we feel the need to label each other as incompetent teachers when we are trying something new, like a Google Quiz that has automatic grading, (which was what I guess set Joe off.) Why should we assume that ignorance equals incompetence?
Let's help each other as we walk into unchartered territory for many of us.
Let's allow each other to fail, then pick each other up and say that was AWESOME that you tried that.
If we integrate technology across the curriculum then in my opinion at least we will be putting tools in the hands of kids that even if our lessons aren't transformative, at least they have access to a tool that will allow some self direction, discovery, and sense making.
I'm also here to help, let me know where you are, what you're looking to try and let me/us help you! :)