Is it o.k to be a technologically illiterate teacher?

24 11 2008

This is one to stir the pot a little.

This post was nominated as most influential post of 2007 in the edublog awards. I have included an excerpt of the post here but it is well worth having a look at the full post and the comments that are at the bottom of the post.

Is it o.k to be a technologically illiterate teacher?

I think there’s a general feeling among teachers (not all teachers, but many) that it’s okay to be technologically illiterate. It reminds me of when I was a math teacher. In about 80% of the parent conferences I had with students who were struggling, at least one of the parents would say “I was never any good at math either.” While I don’t doubt the truth of the statement, it was the fact that they said it and almost seemed proud of it that bothered me (and of course the message it sent to their student). I can’t imagine a parent saying “Oh, yeah, I never learned how to read” and being proud of it. It seemed like there was a different standard for math – not knowing math was socially acceptable, not knowing how to read was very unacceptable.

I sort of get the same feeling today about technology. It’s acceptable to say “I don’t really get computers” – and many people appear to be rather proud of their technological ignorance. And let me be clear, I’m not saying that technology is the end all and be all of education. As I think I’ve always tried to say, it’s just a tool to help us teach and learn and grow – but an indispensable tool. Technology is the underpinning of just about everything we do today – and especially so in relation to how we communicate with each other. And isn’t communication one of the essential ideas that runs through all of our disciplines? The fact that a large percentage of our staff is not only fairly comfortable in their ignorance, but apparently unwilling to make any effort to learn new things (I’m not just talking about Infinite Campus, I’m talking instructionally – and even personally), is really worrisome to me. So let me make a rather extreme statement for you to comment on.

If a teacher today is not technologically literate – and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more – it’s equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn’t know how to read and write.

Extreme? Maybe. Your thoughts???

What do you think??


Murdoch- School’s a disgrace

24 11 2008

Recently, Rupert Murdoch made a bold statement which may have resonated with more people than we think.

The article in the SMH focussed on two groups,the underprivileged and the gifted and talented.

Mr Murdoch said  that schools and school systems must stop making excuses for failing the children they are meant to serve, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. On the other end of the spectrum, Mr Murdoch emphasised that our High- achieving students were not doing well enough against their counterparts in other countries.

This is sadly the case in Australia today and when the world greatest entrepreneur along with our deputy prime minister are both in agreement, one can hardly argue the case.

So what do we do? Drive a nation wide Literacy and Numeracy campaign? is the this the answer?

While Literacy and Numeracy are “up there” in the essentials for learning, I can’t help feeling that we are still missing the point. Perhaps if we throw all our eggs into this basket, then all our students will hear is the sound of breaking egg shells, most falling upon deaf ears of those who are disengaged and disinterested.

The article raises another interesting option of including corporations in a partnership with our schools. Ms Gillard agreed with Mr Murdoch’s suggestion Australian businesses must take an active role in the reform process, saying she would like to see all major corporations enter a relationship with schools.

Feel free to add your thoughts

John Coppola