Now whither the textbook…

Yes, there is a big push to move to digital text books. I understand there is a great need to eliminate paper and the convenience ebooks/tablets possess. Anyway, before your read this blog post any further please view:  North Carolina School Engages Tech Generation With Digital Learning Tools.

This video champions the big push to having technology resources in the classroom. Don’t get me wrong. I am one of the biggest edtech nerds that you will ever know. As a nation, are we really for our classrooms to be transformed to a multimedia rich, Internet-driven environment? What is required for this to happen in school districts nation-wide? I am overjoyed how the above video elaborates why they are successful.

However let me let me quickly point out the key phases of any successful local school or even district wide full technology adoption.

1. Implementation – This is know as the “roll out.” Within implementation, there is a very brief period of training. It is important to know your hardware and know it’s limitations. This phase it the easy part.

2. OJT (On-the-Job Training) – This is the phase that is the key to the success or failure of any technology initiative. Videos on a website are good for training, but training should not stop there. To learn anything, you must get your hands dirty. The IT department and every school department must merge and become one (in my best Yoda voice). Teachers must be as tech savvy as your computer guy. The expectation is there. Period. There is no getting around this fact. Not just having a help desk on standby, but hand-holding/shadowing may be needed as necessary for those who are hesitant or very-slow to adopt in the transformation of the expectations of the 21st century learner.

3. Maintaining universal hardware and software requirements and access for all – In my humble opinion, to maintain a successful technology-dependent school you must ask hard questions. Will what we are doing continue to be successful in 1 year? 5 years? Will all our new equipment become obsolete next year, if so, what do we do? Will learning still take place when power is down?  Can I find another teacher that can fit in the shoes of the hot-shot nerd-extraordinaire teacher that just left to the other school district with better training/equipment? Will my all students with their BYOT computer/tablet/smartphone/laptizzle work on the network?  How do we handle students that bring their own network? How often should school districts supply students with updated equipment? How long will we be in the piloting phase of BYOT when students possess their own smartphones and portable wifi hotspots?

I can continue on with my rant for or against technology in the classroom. Let me just conclude that it will always come down to money. Without money there is no budget for technology or training.  At this time, we just have the expertise of the teacher with their bag of best practices and textbooks to support instruction. How long will this be acceptable for the 21st century learner. We must allow the technology transformation to occur.

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