Telling the Old Story

Joining with David Warlick, Ewan, Miguel, Wes, and Darren, I’m looking to create and tell the new story. The new story about how learning happens, how technology changes the nature of teaching and learning. I’m looking and I have a few potential stories but too often I’m finding old stories.

Our provincial teachers association publishes a monthly newspaper and this month’s edition featured an article about teachers and technology. Here’s an excerpt:

…developed a representing activity for the grade six unit, Taking Flight. In this activity, students focused on the objectives of considering audience, purpose and situation, and using print and other media to explore ideas and express understanding, as they developed a poster to advertise for astronauts. Zakaluzny explained that when her students had done similar activities in the past, many of them became frustrated if they made a mistake because trying to correct mistakes usually means beginning the activity again.When using technology, however, it is easy to alter the size of words, move graphics around, or insert more content without having to start over. Zakaluzny commented that students not only enjoyed this lesson, but also put more time and energy into making their posters just right.

I’m sorry but I don’t share the same level of enthusiasm by these teachers. I don’t want to sound overly critical or snobbish but this is “doing old things in new ways” While some might argue this might be a starting point, it’s time we move past this. I’m somewhat familar with this project and know the number of days spent on teachers creating lessons and projects using technology. If only this time was used to create new stories. What bothers me most is the fact that the leadership in our province is not aware or interested in new stories. I understand that teachers today are so busy they may not have the time to be as current with their teaching practices as they might like. But as a leaders, it’s our job to be aware of what is current and what constitutes best practice.

The sad thing is that no one who might be involved in these type of initiatives is likely to read this. I’d love to be challenged or even chastised for my criticism. Sadly that dialouge never takes place because many are not involved in the global conversation.

Our learning department does have a technology leadership section but it doesn’t appear they are asked to participate when the curriculum department funds a workshop or training initiative.

So while it’s important to find new stories, we may have to pay more attention to old stories and try to force them into retirement.