Technology shouldn’t drive, it should empower…

Des is a teacher who has actively resisted technology for quite a while! Her son is an ICT expert and she has always relied on him to do things for her.  She tried… but she made excuses, she apologised, she labeled herself.  She would come to our tech sessions, write copious notes, express interest in having a go, but never feel comfortable. We’re talking about a wonderful, passionate teacher, willing to embrace change… just not technology.

June 2010:  In the past few weeks, there’s been a shift for her.  She had a go at one thing and then another…And now it seems as if she’s crossed some invisible line and anything is possible!  She has given her Year 4 students a choice as to which web 2.0  tools to use to express their learning and allowed them to guide her.  Her class has collaborated with a class in the UK on a Voicethread, sharing information and learning.  She’s seen the potential of  Skype in the classroom, and after being talked into one supported session, is now setting up her next one herself….

She attributes the change to the following:

  • Plenty of support.
  • Having a go, playing around with the tools, experimenting.
  • Reading what it says on the screen, rather than waiting for instructions.
  • Guilt.  She didn’t want her kids missing out and felt she owed it to them to push herself.
  • Handing over control to the kids and accepting their help.
  • Experiencing some successes, which encouraged her to try other things.
  • Opportunities for using technology to support learning in a meaningful way.

Perhaps these factors can help other teachers move forward in integrating tech into their teaching and learning. At a conference I attended recently, presenter Stephen Knowles put it like this, ” Technology shouldn’t drive, it should empower…”  What do you think, Des?

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9 thoughts on “Technology shouldn’t drive, it should empower…

  1. Edna, Very well said! I would love to share this with a few relucant teachers on our staff. Love the list of reasons for the change in attitude.It is not about our tech skills and new programs – Our mission is about kids and learning. ENPOWER is right on!

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  2. Yes, what began as a trickle in our school has become a flow.
    Thanks to some trailblazers like you Edna….
    The excitement inour new learning makes teaching such fun and the potential of technology to play, explore and grow is amazing. I have watched the transformation in Des too, and then see it grows like ripples in her team.
    As always, how we use the tools depends on the thoughtfulness of the teacher.
    We can really communicate across the world if we understand what we want to achieve from these conversations .

    Our responsibilityis to make sure the questions we ask and the conversations we have are thoughtfully articulated and explored in depth with our students.
    I guess I am even more aware now of audience and purpose.
    Communication means more responsibility and senstivity… a new layer needed to think about.

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    1. As Layla has indicated … “audience and purpose” is so important as we move beyond our classroom and school walls.
      I love the story of ‘Des’. The reasons for change seem so honest.

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  3. I always find I need a relevant reason to learn something new. Even today, writing this comment, I had to have something to want to say and have a voice.

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