Thursday, May 13, 2010

Access, Support and Windmills

The other day Region 10 ESC had their 16th Annual Technology Planning Day and I was asked to do a presentation on the use of social media in schools and why it is important. I was looking forward to the day and came prepared with a laptop and my air card just in case and figured that there would be a lot of people in the same situation.

Well, that being said, you can imagine my shock when I estimated there were 5% or less of the 500 people in attendance that had any type of electronic device to take notes or even back channel. I realize that there are many people that are very tech savy that take notes with pen and paper but I truly was amazed.

I tweeted a few things out about the fact that night and got several responses from people mostly talking about how they use pen and paper for their note taking a well. As I mulled over the situation I finally thought I needed to talk with someone to check and see if I was reacting in the wrong way. I was fortunate that Dean Shareski was available. After a wonderful conversation with Dean I decided to post the following thoughts:

I worry that the fact that the people in the room did not have ways to electronically take notes that the possibility existed that they were not receiving equipment and possibly support from their schools/districts. If that is the case how can we expect the teachers to be willing to work toward integrating technology in their classrooms when they themselves do not have access to the very equipment necessary?

What happens with those notes and how will they be shared in a written state when these teachers return to their schools? Will they be shared, will they even make it to a file or will they simply sit in that notebook until the next conference?

Who knows, maybe I just worry too much about the wrong things but what I truly want to see are teachers that are fully supported by their IT staffs, their schools and their districts so that they can do the best possible job for our students.

Your thoughts or am I just tilting at windmills? I hope not, our kids need us in so many ways.

More to learn that is for sure.

1 comment:

Carolyn Foote said...


Perhaps it's a combination of both. For some reason, I think taking notes on a laptop isn't native to a lot of teachers or administrators. And probably computers/laptops aren't ubiquitous enough in their schools for that to be a habitual way of notetaking?

I think there is also not a culture of sharing as much as all of us probably wish there were.

I do think your point about either access to technology(never enough laptops for frequent users) and support are probably "spot-on".

When we first got laptops in the library, I had to "convince" the powers that be that it was okay for teachers to check them out and take them to conferences, etc. But we have very few here for checkout(even though our campus is pretty full of computers in general), so it just hasn't become habitual for staff.