Link Obsession: Overcoming Teachers’ Fears of Tech

Tech Learning Blog Rant: He makes a good point… Digital Native/Immigrant distinction may just give some teachers an excuse not the cross the bridge. If you read to the comments on this post a responder notes that some teachers fear pushing newer technologies because they fear loosing their jobs. Is this the case? Why so? Isn’t fear a kicker?

Training Teachers Who are Terrorized by Technology: This is a really helpful article about dealing with common questions or protests about using technology in the classroom. One of the questions was “how can I manage computers in the classroom?” The tech teacher notes that they actually train teachers to use applications along with the students. This way the teacher can feel comfortable about using the technology as their students use it.

Fear of Technology in Schools: Dave Chakrabarti chocks up parents (and teachers) fears of technology to the fact that parents fear the lack of control as children are more facile at using technology than they are. I don’t know about other families, but in our family, my father put our lack of fear of technology to his advantage and allowed us to set up any of the new tech gadgets we got like the VCR, the Remote Controls, etc. That way he didn’t have to read the manual and he could just have us explain how the gadgets worked. Maybe this is what parents should do with their children and new technologies… but then again that requires a great deal of trust. In Dave’s posting, dave notes that a teacher who set up a blog was blocked by the school because they though the blog’s presence on the web compromised the students’ safety. The teacher’s response was to shift her focus on to teaching safety on the internet. Smart Teacher; talk about making lemons into lemonade. That’s cool!

Technology: To Use or Infuse: This article discussed some to the common trends in tech integration into the schools and how these may have led us down wrong paths to true integration of technology for educational purposes. It’s true that computers provide us with greater opportunities to learn how to solve “open-ended” problems. Students can be presented a problem, brainstorm solutions then use the internet to gain knowledge and perhaps even contact experts to help them solve the problem.

As I read these articles I became acutely aware of my own tendencies to over-explain things when it comes to technology. Also, I think I’ve developed this automatic response to any audience – I assume that they’re going to resist the technology I propose. I feel like I’ve allowed this assumption to cloud my decision making and choices. I always opt for first teaching those who are fearful and afraid rather than also address the needs and desires of those who are already willing to learn.


3 Responses to “Link Obsession: Overcoming Teachers’ Fears of Tech”

  1. 1 Steve Rosenbaum November 15, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    A since most of teachning is highly unionized the number one value becomes job security. Technology and innovation has always been considered a threat to job security. In a corporate environment that is non-unionized there is tremendous interest in technology and more and more training gets moved out of classrooms.

  2. 2 nkilkenny November 15, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks for the response, Steve. Ah… I knew unions might be involved here somewhere. That’s a good point. However, don’t you think to some extent (and this may be a caustic argument) that despite the unions the more educators shun technology… the weaker it makes them. Also, not to mention how the end result is that students are left lacking in education (tech-wise). The whole point of public education is that everyone gets a fair shot at being educated. Granted in its present state our Pub. Ed. system is faltering in its job.

  3. 3 Steve Rosenbaum November 15, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    I’ve been involved in reshaping education in the corporate world and many of the processes and tools we use or foreign to the public sector and school. One good example is that the corporate world has adopted a lot of the principles of Lean or Lean Six Sigma. When you mention the possible of Lean Government, most people think it’s an oxymoron.

    One of the major causes of poor quality in anything is variability. Our school systems are built on variability. If you’re in 5th grade history, your getting one of around 40,000 variations. Every school and every class is different. As a result, it’s almost impossible to improve and you get some good, some bad and some ugly.

    Public education gives everyone a fair shot a going to school but by it’s monopolistic, unionized approach it can only assure a lot of medocrity.

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