Fixing or Fighting Public Education?

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I have become more selective in what I read about public education lately and I also pay less attention to the issues now that my own children are out of the K – 12 system.  I spent years trying to be informed of the issues and advocating where I could.  I didn’t always feel effective then, but even more so now.  When I was more involved in education advocacy, I would always wish that the general public would also keep informed and care about education, but I get now how easy it is to drift from the issues and feel powerless to make a difference.

As I stated to Doug Peterson, I only read this article about fixing public education in Ontario because he wrote a response to it on his blog, here.  The author of the article is a former president of an education advocacy organization.  She discusses 7 areas to address in order to “fix” public education in Ontario, and claims that 6 out of the 7 recommendations will save money.  She also states in the article’s subtitle, “It won’t be easy to implement any of these recommendations. The educational establishment will fight every step of the way.”

I thought Doug did well in addressing each of the 7 areas with his insights and thoughts (Non-Government Tuition Subsidies; Teacher Training; Curriculum; Textbooks; School Boards: Ont. College of Teachers; Provincial Testing).  I am only going to share some thoughts on one area/recommendation.

Given that I have thought and written a fair bit about school boards, that section jumped out at me. From the article,

The school board trustees, who theoretically represent the voters, are basically powerless: I have yet to hear of a parent who successfully sought help from his elected trustee. The trustees’ representational responsibilities would be better relocated to democratically-elected and influential school councils in each school.”

and with that,

Recommendation #5: Abolish the school boards”

Doug states a good case in his post,

This has long been a controversial issue but the fact that school districts exist ensure that local priorities can be addressed.  The notion of a High School Major is a perfect example.  The careful design plays to the importance of certain fields to the local community.  What works in a downtown community may not be appropriate to a rural location.  Having said that, within a community, there can be so much duplication of services with four school districts in operation.  Since they all teach in Ontario, there may well be significant savings by rethinking this way of organization and addressing the duplication of efforts.”

My thoughts:

As a parent, I received good help from some elected trustees — others, not so much.  Trustees have their limitations in power too.  Am I the only one who “successfully sought help”.  As for school councils being the better representational structure because they are “democratically elected and influential”, when has that been the case in any consistent and supported way across the entire province? (A post I wrote about representation here) I highly doubt that the abolishment of school boards would lead directly to improved functioning, representation, or influence of school councils.  Careful what you wish for?  What do others think?

I agree, the education system is hard to change.  There is also much disagreement on what change should look like.  I see the comments and exchanges are adding up on the original article though.  When I skimmed, most were about public vs. private schools.  Opinions are abundant, but no straight path to change.  I wonder if big shifts will occur anytime soon in Ontario.

Here is a podcast I hope to listen to soon, but if anyone else would like to beat me to it:

When Public Isn’t Public: Education in Alberta

What’s King…Knowledge, Content, or the Network?

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….the question I pondered after reading/listening to some links I clicked on Twitter this week. I often catch bits about the U.S. education debates regarding “The Common Core”, but I certainly don’t have the understanding of the context and issues.  But it does catch my curiosity at times.

I read this post with interest.  The idea about the importance of a knowledge base so that one could “never be lost” did make me stop and think.  It outlines the importance of teaching a base of common knowledge/curriculum.

Following that read, I listened to this video interview that was shared with the quote, “90 percent of what we typically teach is a waste of time.”  It’s a short (less than 3 min.) clip with insight from David Perkins, Professor of Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He suggests that the question that isn’t asked enough is, “What’s worth learning?”  He also states, “We need to teach content looking for…. understandings of wide scope…”.  I thought his final statement in the clip was accurate, “Curriculum is one of the most resistant fronts of education.”

Is there a meeting in the middle of all this for schools?  How do schools meet both present and future needs for knowledge, skills and learning?  Consider this read about knowledge, working, and learning management in the “networked era” by Harold Jarche.  Are we still figuring out the value and impact of “networked” knowledge sharing in our adult worlds?  Yet learning, understanding, and knowledge can come from many directions and sources.

What are the implications for schools, teaching, and curriculum throughout K – 12?  I am struggling to see the right balance and approach.  It is easy to get lost in semantics as well.

 

 

 

Parent Engagement by Association

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, research and articles about parent engagement are plentiful and shared frequently on social media and blogs.  Larry Ferlazzo recently brought attention to a new report on parent engagement (EdSource Inc., Feb. 2014) which he posted to his blog.  He mentioned that it was a good summary even though it sourced a lot of research that was from around 10 years ago.  I look forward to Larry’s review of some more recent research, as he mentioned in his post.

Given that Larry believed that this particular report, “The Power of Parents”, could have been THE best overview of research, I saved it for a thorough reading.  As I worked through it, I came across some great points and statements pulled together.  The title itself may deter some readers, but it really wasn’t about parents having power in terms of school improvement or school closures.  Its subtitle is: “Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools.”  Although the report reviews research and how it relates to some new mandates in California, there were a number statements and considerations from the report that I think will remain important to parent engagement planning in education.  To list a few:

“Much of the research on parent involvement is written for an academic or policy audience. often in a very abstract terms.” (p. 1)

“The emphasis — and desire — for parent involvement has spawned decades of research that point to a powerful connection between parents’ involvement in their child’s education and a range of other outcomes.  However, although a large number of studies show a positive relationship between student academic outcomes and parent involvement, the relationship is a complex one“. (my bold) (p. 2)

“Outcomes will depend on many factors including the particular way parents are involved, the achievement measures used to measure academic outcomes (e.g., grades or test scores), the academic subjects that are bring measured (e.g., math or reading), and the socioeconomic background of students.” (p. 6)

“Most teachers and administrators would like to involve families, but many do not know how to go about building positive and productive programs and are consequently fearful about trying.” (p. 9)

The report goes into detail about a range of barriers to parent involvement but states that, in light of the barriers, “Principals are key to providing leadership in their schools — including sending the clear message that parents are welcome.” (p. 9).

The report also discusses the multiple ways that the extent and impact of parent engagement could be measured but makes this point, “The challenge for schools is to not get too bogged down in a bureaucratic exercise of tracking and assessing parent involvement at the expense of placing their energies into making it happen in the first place.” (p. 11)

I particularly liked the report’s point about the complexity of parent engagement precluding the drawing of strict cause-effect conclusions.  It goes on to suggest that it makes more sense to discuss outcomes as associated with parent engagement, rather than as causations. (p. 6)  The report provides a good summary of associated outcomes.

The report also lists main conclusions that can be drawn from the examination of the research.  These include the positive impact of parent involvement at home and communication between home and school.  The report also pointed to the case that there is little controlled research existing about the impact of parent involvement in trying to implement or change policies at their school or district through “school site councils, PTAs, or school boards”.  It does not, however, dismiss this kind of involvement and mentions research literature that described and identified impacts and gains of community organizing initiatives in implementing programs and polices at these levels.

In terms of the new laws for reform in California, schools must now get input from parents as to how additional state funds intended for low-income students, English learners and foster children are spent.  Supporters of the new law still cautioned that given the absence of guidance from the state on how to best involve parents and the slow pace of outreach in many areas, districts may not change much in terms of broadening who they engage.  This may be interesting to monitor and assess ahead.  In Ontario, parents do not have a formal or expected role in advising how funding should be spent at school or board level.  They could choose to input in budget areas, but it is not mandated.  The reports ends with a comment on this new law, “Schools could view this requirement as another onerous state mandate — or, as this report indicates, as one that has the potential to yield considerable payoffs to individual students and the entire school community in the short and long term.” (p. 11)

Thank you for reading my reflection on points in the report.

Parents in the Partner-Shift

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It is often suggested that one barrier to change in education is that parents want learning and schools to be like they experienced.  There may be some impact of this, but I am not sure this really captures the big picture.  I think we have to remember that not just parents have a stake and voice in education.  The public at large votes and includes non-parents.

There may be parent voices that get heard, if not cherry-picked on issues in the media and elsewhere, but this may not reflect a majority or a reality.  In my interactions and experiences with parents I have met many who advocate for healthy and humanistic environments for all children and recognize that shifts are needed.  Many want to advocate, but can also feel powerless and unsupported in affecting change or improvement.  I recognize that views on this may vary depending on the school communities one works within.

Having a lens through which one sees something may not be wrong.  I think it is good to reflect on how we work towards changing the lenses of others, as well as how we make efforts to change our own.

Below is a video interview with one parent’s “POV” posted by the Canadian Education Association.  The CEA’s communication director and interviewer, Max Cooke, asks if there was any impact of parents “wanting school as they experienced” as the school made a shift to inquiry-based learning.  It was not the case for this school in Saskatchewan.  The parent stated, “I think everyone wants a different experience for their children”.  She offers some suggestions for parents near the end of the interview as well.  A good listen and under 9 minutes:

A parent’s POV:

On Second Thought…

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In my last post I asked a number of questions regarding failure and competition in learning.  I much appreciated a subsequent and related post by Chris Wejr, in which he dug deeper into the topic about “losing” and the implications to education.  He also provided some ideas for changing the focus and range of the conversation.  There are also good responses and sharing of experiences in the comments on his post.  Chris also added a further comment that I thought captured some of my own frustrations and also some of the reasons why deeper dialogue and understanding don’t proceed in such education conversations,

…when we talk about more collaboration and less competition, we often get cut off and people immediately respond that “this is not the real world… kids need to learn how to lose”.  When we talk about creating more success for students by meeting where they are, we get the same response.  When we talk about moving away from awards and shifting to a system that honours each child for a strength they have… we get the “real world losing” comments and fail to move in to discussing learning resilience and building confidence.  It is often surface level conversations (often in the media) that hinder deeper conversation. Yes, it is so important to experience falls, mistakes, errors, failures… but experiencing these in a game you don’t want to play against opponents in which you have no chance does nothing but disengage.  I find the same frustration when we discuss moving away from grades. People hear this and think that we are all worried about self-esteem and we don’t get to move deeper into dialogue around real assessment.

I think we often have so much to take in and consider with education and schools.  When we hear about a new idea or way of doing something we can all have first thoughts and reactions – whether an educator, a parent, or a member of the general public.  Parents are often named as a barrier to changes in education.  But if they are only experiencing and exposed to surface level conversations and reactions (often through the media), it may be difficult to expect more depth or examination of an issue or idea.  I know that Chris is not only an advocate for meeting kids where they are, but also for communicating with and meeting parents where they are.  I can understand that parents and members of the public may not be interested and/or have the time to really delve into all education topics, but I still believe there is much to be said about on-going conversations with educators, parents, and community members talking about these more complex topics in the same room (such as “edcamps”) or through online discussions.  It is through this sharing of perspectives that can often lead to “second thoughts” about how one perceives an issue or approach.  How can we continue to engage and support all stakeholders in education to get past the surface statements and get to that place of “on second thought…”?  Is it worth it?

As I was writing this post, I came across this post by Jamie Billingham.  I enjoyed her thoughts about leadership and change in education systems and communicating and connecting the narratives of a community.

Leading Learning and Networking to Learn

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As I dipped into the Twitter stream today, I seemed to have caught a theme in just a few short minutes!

If you are ever having some reservations or questions about the purpose of a Personal Learning Network, “PLN”, there are plenty of good reads to guide with this.  I wrote a post with my own questions and thoughts some time ago.  What I found interesting today was how a few posts seem to relate and mesh so well, if not speak to where things are at currently with online learning networks in education and to what lies ahead.

First I read about, “It’s time to create school systems that learn”, by Paul Ash, Superintendent.  His message really speaks to a shift in supporting learning and key roles in education.

Then, “Hacking Your Professional Development“.  Andrew Campbell, a teacher, pulled together a great compilation that captures the possibilities of a PLN and other learning opportunities that educators are taking part in and have readily available to them.

And then next, some related and relevant insight from a principal, Cale Birk, “How Do You Value Networking?”.  His post nicely brings in the consideration of students to this networked way of learning.  A lot to reflect on from his post in regards to both student and educator networks and connected learning.

And one last post regarding the purpose and next steps for PLN’s, Tom Whitby asks, “When is Innovation Old News?”.

I hope these posts help bring together some thoughts and plans for next steps for you, as they did for me.  Thanks for reading my quick collection!

Critical thinking about supporting creativity

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There seems to be a shift in education conversations – from a focus on literacy and numeracy to innovation and creativity.  This dialogue is not only in Ontario, but across many borders.  It has certainly peaked my curiosity.

I have been reviewing two Ontario education reports with much interest:

Great to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda. (Prof. Michael Fullan, Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario)

Fullan Report

A Vision for Learning and Teaching in a Digital Age (Ontario Public School Boards’ Association)

OPSBA

Both are well worth a read and provide great food for thought regarding education strategies that include technology integration and supporting learning with new digital resources.

In Fullan’s report, the six C’s form the agenda:  Character, citizenship, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and teamwork, and creativity and imagination.

In the OPSBA’s report, their vision “seeks to define the skills we want students to have by the time they finish school beyond the essential foundation of literacy and numeracy and core academic competencies” (p.7).  In this report, skills for the digital age are also a set of C’s:  Creativity and innovation, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.

Both reports make good recommendations for directions in education, and what to build on.  But as we talk about these C words, I wonder if they are all being understood in a consistent way.  In a recent post, I did some thinking out loud about creativity and innovation and where technology fits with the creative process.   I got some good feedback and comments.

In Fullan’s paper, brief preliminary descriptions of the six C’s were provided.  The bullet for creativity and imagination states, “Economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership in action.” (p.9). When asked during a live interview what he felt represented the most significant break with the past, he stated creativity and imagination as being the most important.

In OPSBA’s report, creativity and innovation skills were described as follows:

“Think creatively, generating new and worthwhile ideas, exploring innovative formats and media; elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate one’s own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts; work creatively with others, communicating new ideas effectively and being responsive to diverse perspectives; demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand the real world limits to adopting new ideas; view failure as an opportunity to learn; understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes; act on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contribution to the field in which the innovation will occur.  Creativity and innovation are particularly important in a world of rapid change.”  (p.7)

A lot of these C words, as well as “innovation”, are used together and interchangeably and I suspect that the processes and actions of each could occur simultaneously and overlap.  In Fullan’s report it is acknowledged that, “This paper has not provided details on how to get to the next level of excellence”.  He refers to the launching of Ontario to the next phase as already leading from strength, “but if anything it will require deeper partnership between government and education and other sectors in order to realize the aspirations and qualities embedded in the six C’s”. (p. 11).

What should be the focus ahead – the how?  Deeper partnerships? Technology? If creativity is essential, what conditions are necessary to support this? Do we understand what we planning to support and why?  Are we justifying one thing with another?

I often hear that failure is important to the process of creativity, but this post of Josh Stumpenhorst’s highlighting failure as important for growth had me thinking in relation to all this.  He also discusses the role of creativity and curiosity in learning.

In my previous post about creativity, I added a video of a talk by John Cleese about creativity.  He refers to creativity as a way of operating and goes on to speak more about the conditions that allow one to be more creative.  He refers to the importance of the “open mode” to allow for creativity.  Conditions that allow for an open mode are:  Quiet, playful spaces; lots of time and specific times allotted to time to play; confidence in whom you “play” with if it does involve others; and humour.  He felt humour was quicker that anything in helping move from a closed to open mode.

John Spencer (@edrethink) has written a number of good blog posts that examine creativity. In a recent one he asks,

“What if the solution for creativity isn’t to teach creativity, but to allow it? What if creativity happens when students make something meaningful, find joy in learning, fall in love with a concept, have the permission to take risks and learn to push past obstacles?”

In this post called, Creativity: The Premier Skill of the 21st Century, the author makes a distinction about creativity and innovation in this way, “Creativity is the ideation of a thought, while innovation is the realization of the idea.”  This blog is hosted by a national organization, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which makes a call for creativity and innovation as one of the essential skill sets of future citizens, “And, while we do not traditionally have a Creativity Room in our schools, we have a mandate to instill the skills of creative thinking to foster a never-ending stream of innovations.”

But is this the goal – in that creativity leads to innovations?  Can allowing for students to be creative be a goal in itself?

It is often said that creativity can’t be defined, but I think we can create the conditions to allow for it.  How do schools, teaching, and education have to change to support the conditions for it? Do we have to measure it?

As I was drafting this post, there were many individuals whose tweets helped my thinking on this.  Some were sharing their own thoughts and questions about this while at conferences and sessions about creativity, innovation, and learning spaces. Thanks Jenn (@jennzia) and Fred (@NomadCreatives), and many others for their critical thinking and sharing!

Parent Communication in Education

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Warning: Longer post – but communication is complex 🙂

I have made the statement regarding parent engagement that opportunity for 2-way communication often IS the engagement.  I believe that parent engagement in education cannot happen without good communication.  When I say communication, I don’t just mean the kind of communication that is limited to online reporting of student performance to parents. I recently read about a Parent Portal:

“The application, called Parent Portal, makes an extraordinary amount of information available to parents. It shows students’ grades, attendance records and notes from their teachers on how they are performing. Parents can exchange private messages with teachers. The information is updated weekly.”

Although important information and there was an option for an exchange of private messages between parents and teachers, I tweeted this link with, “There is so much more to parent engagement”.  I also think there is so much more to communicating with parents, specifically, the kind of communication that sustains dialogue and relationships.  A response post by Myrdin Thompson (@MyrdinJT) well addresses the possible reasons for the lack of use of this Parent Portal.  Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) has also written about the “with” of communication here.

It is no secret that parent-teacher interaction can often be difficult.  The perceptions of this are captured quite well in this article.  It also has some good advice and there are many other helpful resources for communication with parents.  For example, this podcast was worth a thorough listen (Thanks, Donna Fry (@fryed), for drawing my attention to it).  The panel discussion captured an honest and candid account of the barriers to communication, but also identified many practical suggestions and strategies to overcome biases of both parents and teachers.  Rather than putting family engagement in the light as just “another thing” and a burden on time, it had some positive messages about how it serves to alleviate some burdens related to learning and behaviour, and thus time.  I thought it had a lot to offer in terms of shifting the mindset of doing TO parents to doing WITH parents, while still honouring the unique roles of both teachers and parents that can lead to agreed upon outcomes and partnering as a team.  I particularly liked the mention of including goals around parent outreach in the school improvement plan with emphasis on identifying the goals and strategies in consideration of the school’s families.  One participant also mentioned the value of engaging parents in the big picture issues and goals in education.

Many parents will only have time to focus on the more immediate needs of their own child(ren).  Many others will be interested in school community information and district directions, as well as wanting to be informed about the broader, bigger picture of education.  How should these different communication needs be met?

A U.S. national survey by the National School Public Relations Association (2011) pinpointed communication preferences in school communication.   Among many interesting findings, I found it interesting that it was reported that respondents felt less informed about statewide issues impacting education.  (39% believed they were pretty well informed or very well informed.)

In Ontario, the 2012 survey of school councils coordinated by People for Education included a look at communication between parents and “the system”:

“Parents need information about their individual children’s education, but according to an extensive consultation conducted by the provincial government, they also want regular updates about the education system as a whole – about how the system works, who is responsible for what, how education is funded, and what the appropriate channels are to address specific concerns” (People for Education 2012 Report on Ontario School Councils, p. 9; citing the Parent Voice in Education Project, 2005).

The 2012 data revealed that school councils were notified about education policy changes in various ways – 82% received notification from their principals “always” or “often”; 53% heard from the school board; 27% from the Ministry of Education; 47% from the board level Parent Involvement Committees (which a parent chairs and membership must have a parent majority).

A recent U.S. survey about student engagement also generated a few blog responses.  Jeff Cobb, for one, discussed the findings and questions about the survey and also made reference to parent engagement:

“Second, parents – as always – need to be highly aware of the impact Education (with a capital “E”) as an institution can end up having on intrinsic motivation to learn. None of us want disengagement to be the result, of course, and I have no doubt that the average teacher works hard to keep students engaged. Still, when you move so many people through a large system, a certain amount of disengagement seems inevitable. Parental engagement in maintaining engagement and cultivating lifelong learning is essential.” (his bold)

I often read such statements about parent engagement, but I am often left unsure about the “how to go about facilitating” these expectations of parents.  How do parents become more “highly aware”, or more informed both about their role and the broader issues and directions of education that affect their children?  We can’t expect all to and there may be disagreement if they really need to be.  But then what?  Does that mean we don’t work with who is interested? Is it okay to “work with who you get”?  Is there a framework or structure that ensures the appropriate place and balance of parents engaged and informed at the school and district level?  I sense frustration when parents are too involved, or when they are not the “expected” parents, and then I also sense frustration that uninformed parents may be a barrier to progressive change in education.  I hear that we have to be inclusive of all parents, but then I often see barriers to the efforts to reach out and inform broader.  How often are the engaged parents we may need most disengaged through practice and bias?

In the podcast, one participant stated that it was important to have a structure in place at the school level for parent participation.  But do these structures help educators “lead with their ears”?  Even if a parent is in a position of leadership in these structures, are other parents really engaged and empowered in the discussion and advocacy that is relevant and meaningful to them?  Who should help parents become informed about the broader context and issues in education – at the school, district and regional level? Who actually does that at each of those levels, and what does that say?  Does open and necessary communication happen best in the foundation of relationships or structures, or both?  How do we recognize and support the nature of the relationship that IS engagement, just as much as two-way communication IS?

In the NSPRA survey summary their president noted, “The message is clear.  Open, honest and transparent communication is the best antidote to public mistrust.  This research finds the institutions that invest in communication, and provide opportunities for dialogue and dissent are the first choice for information about the services they provide.”

There may be struggle with the ‘what’ of communication, but the where, with and by whom may be integral.  Where does education allow for the dialogue and dissent that is important to communication and relationships which sustain parent engagement and trust?  Who should inform this dialogue at the different levels?  I am not clear of the answers, but I hope this post will help the awareness of many assumptions and at least provide support for respectful dialogue and relationships.

Related post: Bringing Parents into the Conversations

Educators and Parents: Communication and Conversations

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There are many blog posts and articles about using social media to communicate to parents, as well as a means to engage them.  The potential for enhancing and broadening outreach to parents is exciting.  The communication areas can cover everything from school and district updates to student grades and work samples.  I also believe that parent engagement cannot occur without good communication.

However, parents may not always be clear as to where the opportunites exist for 2-way conversations with social media, nor want that option.  We seem to be at a time when many different methods of communication are desired and still necessary for communication to and with parents, including face to face.  I heard this message loud and clear from parents in my own district recently.  Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) recently shared his work as a principal with similar messages regarding this at a recent People for Education conference in Toronto, Ontario.  TVO Parents (@TVOParents) also wrote about his messages as well.

Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) has also written a number of posts about parent engagement, including one about communicating to vs. with parents at his school where he is principal.  A number of resources and ideas can be found linked in his posts on this topic, as well as on other topics that he is passionate about.

Although not focused on social media, I also appreciate a post recently written by Heidi Hass Gable (@HHG).  Her belief in the value of educators engaging in conversations and communicating with parents through various channels is evident in her suggestions and in the messages in the videos she included in her post.  A good conversation and further sharing has started in the comments as well.

I continue to look forward to learning about the different ways that lines of communication are being opened up between parents and educators and other stakeholders in education to bring conversations together to benefit children, schools and communities.  I hope this collection of ideas and resources that I have gathered in one place are helpful and will result in more conversations — the comfortable and the uncomfortable.  I believe both are worth it.

Related posts from my archives:

Bringing Parents into the Conversations

Parent Engagement: A Dinner Invite or Potluck?

Please feel free to add.

Technology Resistant

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It is not hard to catch the concerns in my Twitter feed regarding the lack of technology and social media use by teachers and in classrooms.  There are often many points and issues to consider and I don’t claim to know and understand all of them.  The statements on blog posts and in comments reveal the diversity, if not polarization, of positions and thoughts in this area.

Consider these posts by Scott McLeod (@mcleod), for example, and the comments generated:

What are educator’s professional obligations to learn from social media channels?

Holding Back Our Children

And this report on social media’s role in education.

Also, I found the chart that Keith Rispin (@Keithrispin) provided at the end of this post very helpful, although he admits it may be somewhat simplistic.

The more I read the more I am often confused about what to support.  As a parent, I could choose not to worry about this, especially since parents are often looked upon as the barrier for change in this area.  Andrew Campbell (@acampbell99), a teacher and parent, posed a good question in a tweet recently, “If parents were demanding #edtech would that speed change?”  I don’t believe so.  I think it would have to be a collective response and collaboration of stakeholders to really affect speed of change (in education standards :)).  I could be wrong though certainly.

I may be “old-fashioned”, but I continue to look for reassurance around these points and questions:

  • Is the technology use or device developmentally appropriate for children/students?  E.g. Do young children really need the tools that connect globally? Would we introduce needless anxiety through exposure to situations or issues beyond their homes and community which they are not ready for and don’t need to be ready for?
  • How does the use of the technology/device or social media enhance a learning experience or opportunities compared to not using it? How are the outcomes different?
  • Arguments need to convince me that it is good for learning, not just because it makes teaching easier or more interesting (which could be addressed other ways), or that it “motivates” students.
  • As children/students experience and access more technology, what will they not experience?  And how will we know that it is okay?  Who will take responsibility if we miss something essential?

As I read the concerns about both parent and teacher resistance to technology and social media use in schools/classrooms, I wonder if it is really understood what assurances are needed.  Are the assurances that will build confidence and support similar or different for “resistant” parents and teachers?  Are parents and teachers comfortable enough to share these thoughts?

I invite any thoughts:  Is there an “it” or a “why” that you need to hear to better embrace and support the use of technology and social media in classrooms and/or for professional/personal learning?  Thank you for reading my thoughts.

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