The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Technology is the devil...and other thoughts from Will R. and friends

Here is an interesting blog post from Will Richardson who has left the classroom to speak to educators and share the content from his new book. Will was a pioneer in the use of technology and web tools in the classroom. The blog comments are also very thoughtful.

Will Richardson was in Fort Wayne last week and I got a chance to sit and visit with him some. He is finishing a 3 week tour of the U.S. and he seems genuinely discouraged at the response he is getting across the nation.

Why? He is frustrated at the pace of change and how educators seem reluctant to embrace technological innovations, especially the use of internet and web 2.0 applications in the classroom.

Surveys and teacher feedback repeatedly reveal that students are not engaging or investing in their school "work." Yet the multimedia, hyper speed world of our young people continually leaps ahead of us adults in the implementation of technology in the classroom.

Will's post and additional comments are found here.

6 comments:

Sandy Schaufelberger said...

Mark

Thanks for being a technology evangelist for your district. You are leading the change at Wawasee and proving that open and transparent communication will engage your stakeholders (and kids)! I applaud your commitment to being a pioneer and modeling what we can all do with the tools of web 2.0.

Sandy Schaufelberger, IPFW

J. Baird, WHS teacher said...

I also attended the same workshop with Will Richardson. A light bulb went off as Will presented evidence that showed how students are and will be using technology in the future. I realize that we do a great job of teaching to a 1960’s audience, maybe even to a 1980’s audience. However we are not doing a good job of teaching to today’s students. We need to embrace THEIR technology. If we teachers want to serve our students well, we need to teach them the skills that will be useful to them in their future jobs, not the ones that are useful in my current job. This is scary because I am unfamiliar with most their technologies. Of the technologies I’m aware of, I don’t understand how they can fit with my current curriculum. The workshop left me with a lot more questions than answers. I know that I’ll be spending time this summer reading about the Web 2.0. I need to experience it myself before I can understand how to incorporate it into my lesson plans.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

Julie has hit on a very important part of Will's message. He recommended that teachers try to learn technology applications for their own personal use as a starting point. Don't worry yet about trying to make instructional applications right away.

Like Julie said, explore for yourself. Start a blog or try to do a joint lesson plan with another teacher using a wiki.

(For those who never heard of a wiki - I will be launching this week a community wide problem-solving experiment that will utilize a wiki to solicit suggestions for improving the school registration process. I will announce it on the blog.)

Search the web forums to see what other teachers are trying.

For example, surfing around some I found some of the most interesting applications for audioblogging and podcasting are being done by foreign language teachers.

Technology is just a tool, but it does have some advantages that are very practical. In many ways it does engage students who find it "interesting" in and of itself.

Anonymous said...

Does Wawasee have the funds to move ahead technologically? We have trouble with the technology currently being used--running slow, freezing up, having to use free software, network problems, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes technology is not worth the hassle.

Superintendent Mark Stock said...

This summer our bandwidth is going to increase dramatically. This should at least help with internet speed.

Your comment about open source software is a frustration but also a reality of the future.

Indiana is one of the state's in our country that is promoting (even forcing state technology grant dollars) towards open source software. Some schools are piloting Linux based operating systems and others are slowing dropping their Microsoft software licenses.

I do not really know yet whether this trend will grow or crash and burn.

Anonymous said...

Without consulting other teachers in our district, I'm guessing that my experiences and frustrations have, at times, been similar to others looking to implement more technology into our classrooms.

It can be very difficult to schedule labs around Core 40 testing dates while there are so many other teachers competing for the same labs. First of all, I am extremely greatful for the technology we do have at Wawasee. I am also thankful to hear that our bandwidth should improve in the near future. This truely puts Wawasee further ahead of many in other districts.

Yet, according to my perspective there are certain truths that we have not accepted or applied. One example would be in video projectors. Video projectos are the overhead projectors of today. Yes, we have TVs that can connect with CPUs, however, the display area of a TV does not allow an entire class to view text applications with any degree of quality. In my building it can be very difficult and/or time-comsuming to obtain a video projector for a lesson or especially a series of lessons. As long as it takes teachers longer to "obtain" the technology needed than it does to plan lessons without it that still focus students on learning, teachers will shy away from its implementation.

Please know that I am, however, excited about the technology improvments being made! Some of these improvements have been MONUMENTAL! I am sure that the finances for such improvements is a juggling match! But for student engagement and learning sake, let's keep up the momentum of technology improvement in the Wawasee district! Thanks to everyone (administrators, tech team, teachers) for making these improvements a reality!