May 25, 2007

Possibility vs. Probability

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am

My job is mostly about change. Helping teachers understand what’s different, what’s possible and what’s necessary in order to change/improve teaching and learning. There would be still be a few who question why we need to change but at least that battle is seeing fewer participants.

That said, I’m still torn between what I know to be right, good and important and the reality of today’s classrooms and schools. Kids in rows, eyes up front, closed mouths still is an appealing image for many, plus it’s cheap, easy to maintain and highly scalable. I do get very excited about the good work and change that many of our classrooms are involved with. The work of these teachers is exciting and has taken a great deal of time and hard work but with amazing results. Those who would read this blog regularly already get it.

I was talking with a couple of my colleagues from our department of learning and they told me an interesting story. A director of education had been considering implementing one to one computing. Harmed with research and common sense, he was convinced that this would have the potential to make a difference in achievement and engagement, which is why he said he couldn’t go ahead. He couldn’t go ahead because it was not affordable long term to do for all kids and thus he would be cheating many out of a great education.

And there you have it. The will to change is not there. In today’s political climate, it’s not likely to happen. I just received a report on our teacher’s use and beliefs about technology. Can you guess the main barrier they cited? I’ll give you a hint: It’s a four letter word beginning with T and ending with IME. The change that needs to happen is going to be expensive and it’s got little to do with hardware or infrastructure. Most of that’s already in place. It’s got to do with time which has to do with money. We already suffer from public outcry when monies are spent on technology or heaven forbid professional learning. How do we help taxpayers understand the urgency and importance of it all?

So mine, and likely your struggle continues: trying to build a house with toothpicks. I suppose it can be done but?? Until then I’ll go on cheering on and supporting the good work of a few, knowing that many kids are getting less than they deserve. To be clear, I’m not blaming anyone, just pointing out a big obvious issue to which I’m not sure of the answer….isn’t that what the blogosphere is for?

Image: Toothpicks 2