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Friday, July 17, 2009

Teachers Not Prepared to Use Technology, Duh!

ISTE and Congress are way too late and short on the push to provide funds for training new teachers to be prepared to use technology in the classroom. Good idea, but it will probably not work or succeed. Too bad, too.

Why will it fall short? Simple, the teachers who work in the schools of education have no clue about how to use technology in the K-12 classroom, let alone teach the new teachers how to use it. How do I know this? Again, simple. What school of education has a staff using the technology in their own teaching and has had their own students using it in their own work. Teachers are still coming to us not having a clue how to use the technology as a teacher. Sure they have used some technology as students, but they have not developed their own webpages or blogs as teachers, only as students; and that is a huge difference. Sure the new teachers are still better consumers in the technology age, but they have yet to prove themselves as good producers. They still muck about with such inferior products like Facebook and MySpace, which are filtered in the schools in which they will teach. Blackboard too is an expensive program not used in K-12 schools, heck, Moodle doesn't have a big following. And, too, these new teachers are again using these programs as students, not as the teacher.

It doesn't matter how much money and how much technology a school of education has, since the old dogs in these professorships and who are tenured have no incentive to learn how to use technology let let alone teach something about which they have no clue. They still teach the way they were taught and have since earning their own adavanced degree. Just look at their online syllawebs. They are sorely lacking in any kind of 21st Century thinking or application in preparing the teachers of the future. ISTE has always been disappointing on this front, something some of us have been saying for the past decade if not longer.

The problem with the use of technology in the K-12 environment is in our schools of education. The advancement of education in this country has always found its weakest link on the ramparts of the ivory towers of our schools of education, that staid bastion of tenure and status quo. And ISTE is loaded with these folks who talk better they they walk.

To verify this criticism, simply look at how far behind the use of technology schools are as compared to other professions. Schools should be in tghe forefront of tgechnology use and yet when students leave the K-12 environment, they have barely had much experience with technology. How many teachers in a K-12 school actually use technology? How many teachers in the K-12 environment have a webpage of their syllawebs? Schools are further hamstrung by the odius filters. It is very obvious that there is no plan to determine how to use technology in our K-12 schools, otyherwise we would see it happening. Giving more money to schools of education to lead the charge in the advancement of technology in education is a huge waste and will embarass us even further. And surely we don't want to look to Secretary of Education Duncan for leadership or even direction in this matter, because he is clueless on so many fronts when it comes to education.