Sunday, September 30, 2007

SLOW DOWN, you're in a school zone...

“It’s easy to drive fast in a Ferrari.”--- Graham Wegner
Image uploaded with Skitch!
5699536_f191d39077I recently read a post by Graham Wegner which described that while voices like Kim Cofino, Jeff Utecht, Susan Sedro and Clay Burell have a lot to say about the power of embedding technology into teaching & learning experiences for their students. But as a realist...he sees that when the the ferrari is not there, all you have are teachers that are trying to make due with their hotted up Monaro....this analogy of racing on a track, really hit home for me and I'd like to take it one step further

What happens when GIVEN the Ferrari?
Through Classrooms For the Future we have been given the Ferrari of classrooms....sets of laptops, Interactive Whiteboards and LCD projector, digital still and video cameras, scanners, speakers.... and yet the teachers in these classrooms still have concerns.

Working with teachers who are comfortable with the car they've got
Some folks are very comfortable driving their Toyota Camrys. They are comfortable with the way it drives, they know how the tools work, and they can make their Camray go as fast (or as slow) as they like. It is dependable and that is what makes it so easy to drive. Some folks are afraid of getting in that Ferrari and the risk that comes with driving fast.
86704182_f82c694927_mOnce they can get the teacher in their Ferrai and start to teach them the power it has, they are restricted by the school limits...
Many coaches returned to their schools from bootcamp only to find that their district has blocked many of the tools and resources that they learned that can help their teachers to start on the fast track. Many of the network administrators see only the danger, not the power of the tools. My advice, don't go to the network guys, go to the people who make the decisions about curriculum and instructional practices. Go to them with examples in other words, put THEM in your Ferrari and take THEM for a RIDE!!!

I continue to urge people get in the race...get behind the wheel of your Ferrari step on the gas, take it out on the road, and see what it really can do...as far as the school zones....
Thoughts?

5 comments:

  1. Great analogy. You're so right about needing to go to C&I people, and to go with specific examples of the Ferrari power. It seems ironic that many of the IT people do often lead the charge restricting access, but I suppose it can make sense, since so many of them see their job as "protecting" the network, and they're not necessarily the educators in a system. Since C&I people aren't necessarily well-versed in tech, they'll often just follow along w/IT recommendations if they're not shown the Ferrari power.

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  2. While it wasn't Classrooms for the Future boot camp, I had an experience such as the one Kristin is advocating shortly after my week at Keystone Technology Institute this summer. (I blogged about it here: http://thespian70.blogspot.com/) I came back with tons of ideas and was on my way in to meet with the lead person focusing on using technology for instructional practices when I ran in to the lead guy in charge of the network. He was a little familiar with KTI, and we were chatting about some of the cool technologies to get both teachers and students connected. He said to me we wouldn't ever open some of those up on our network because some of them were untraceable (or something to that effect). In other words, we couldn't produce records of what happened during a Skype or Twitter conversation if the network records were somehow subpoenaed, so we probably wouldn't open those kinds of technologies up. To make a long story short, Kristin's right. Talking to the tech person on the education side of things was an entirely different take on things, and the technologies were opened up. Kristin's analogy is the right one: take the folks on a ride in the Ferrari and let them see the power of what CAN be! Then we can start making changes in the classroom.

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  3. Up front: I get the point being made in your post and I agree with it...obviously.

    But I've learned as a Tech Coach that it' okay to take someone on a ride in my "Yugo" (dismal excuse for an automobile, what-have-you) and then afford them the opportunity to look out the windows and see not what's in front of them, but what's on their sides, what they are riding alongside with, what is all around them.

    My teachers fear what's up front, in the distance, but they seem to respond to the 'look at what is already going on around us'.

    When they see it, really, really see it, they'll move forward not with the pedal to the metal, but the lesson FOR the student.

    For many, that's quite a change.

    vroom - vroom!

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  4. I agreed with this blog. In my district, our admin still will not let us post pictures of students on our website. They are worried about "privacy" issues. They do not want the students "connected" to the classroom in any way. It just completely blows my mind. They are SO afraid to take a ride in that ferrari! I have tried now for 3 years to reach them about this. This year, after attending the Keystones Summit, I went back with many ideas. My admin. still was not budging on the picture deal, nor were they very responsive about the ideas. However, they did say that maybe we could get a few teachers, parents, admin, and school board members to sit down and discuss technology. Such as...where we are as a district, where other districts are, where we NEED to be.
    While I feel that this is a much needed meeting to have...I'm wondering when and if it's actually going to happen anytime soon. I was pretty much told that PSSA's are top priority this year...so basically heck with anything technology. It can be so frustrating! I loved what Ken said about looking out the windows and seeing what's all around them. That's definitely the way I need to approach technology with my district! Although for 3 years I've been trying to have them "look out the windows". I feel like I need to get them to stick their whole head OUT the window!

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  5. Well stated... like we heard at boot camp... Would you take away a pencil because someone might write something inappropriate with it?

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