Make the conversations easy

A discussion on who should teach what is always a prickly one in any school. We regularly have conversations in regards to teaching students various different skills. Digital skills are just part of the conversation. Lumped in with those are pastoral, organisation, research, communication, and presentation skills amongst others. Whose responsibility is it?

Teachers are aware that there are basic standards of digital literacy that should be met and a conversation is usually had about how/ who is able or capable to teach these skills. This is a problem that is easily fixed……………………..in our utopian, fantasy island international school existence!

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Express Monorail

We can have those conversations and no one would blink an eye as to who should cover “collaborative electronic authoring tools to explore common curriculum content from multicultural perspectives with other learners.”

It struck me when reading Jillians blog that we DO already cover/ integrate technology. Addressing digital standards is a relatively easy process. Why? It is purely because our schools cover the “Essential Conditions” for technology to be seamlessly integrated into the classroom. We have extraordinary access to resources that people in the real world can only dream about.

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by h.koppdelaney

Without these essential conditions it is very difficult to ensure that digital standards are even a part of the conversation.

There have been several posts that have implied that if staff are not a part of the digital revolution then they are going to be left behind. BUT spare a thought for a teacher (any age, subject, technical ability) who does not have ALL the resources suggested in the ISTE report. You might be willing to change if you can see benefits and sound pedagogical reasoning. I think we would be more willing to change IF THINGS WORKED WHEN THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO. As teachers, despite all our best character traits, we tend to have a very short fuse when it comes to anything new, especially when it doesn’t do what is supposed to do the first time. My relationship with voicethread has been scarred as a direct result.

If your school has the essential items required then things are more likely to work. When they work people become impressed and want to use them more AND try to implement new strategies. The development of a digital culture in a school doesn’t happen by announcing that you are a 1:1 school. There is a LOT of support behind the scenes ensuring things work. this means that technology coaches, IT facilitators etc are able to do their job of bringing tech into the classroom smoothly and NOT spend time with printer, projector, hard drive, internet issues that plague schools laptop programs. It makes a HUGE difference.

I am lucky that I work in a school that has  an incredible amount of resources. They have had them for a long time. As a result, there has developed a culture of technology use where conversations about digital standards are not difficult “ctrl-alt-delete fixes everything” conversations. We have expert technology coaches (yes we can call them that) that are at the staff’s beck and call to assist in whatever way they can to incorporate technology into a regular run of the mill lesson. As a result of having all these resources things work, staff are interested and things like COETAIL courses are well represented by our staff. People are willing to pay, give up their own personal time to further their understanding of the connectivist age. This is a school culture. The staff contribute to that as best they can. If we were a school that did not have those resources and things didn’t work I can understand teachers lack of enthusiasm when it comes to having those digital standards conversations.

Make the conversations easy….

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