Sunday, September 23, 2012

#Why I Don't Use Technology: Anti-Tech Teachers Lament Has No Standing!

The conversation went something like this:
Teacher: Do you know he suggested using Tagxedo at Reading Night?
Me: What a wonderful idea!
Teacher: I don't see why they want to use technology. (said with disdain)
Me: Why not? The kids and parents would have a good time.
Teacher: What if it doesn't work? What if it doesn't print? Then what are we supposed to do?
Me: What do you mean doesn't work? It's really easy to use.
And the conversation continued...

"Technology" is not something you can pick up or put down, it's not a solid object. That is what frustrates me so much about people who are "anti-tech". It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs every time someone says to me, "See, I used the Smartboard today, I used technology."

Or, after typing an entire paragraph on a web page, it's deleted, and the person yells, "See, that's why I don't use technology!"

Technology is not a subject!!!  It is a tool that is not going away. It's not something extra that you add to a lesson, it's just part of your lesson. You know, the way you use the textbook. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the question, "What if it doesn't work?" So does that mean that we shouldn't use it? What isn't going to work? The Internet? The computers? Tagxedo?

Yes, there is a chance any one of those things might not work, but there is a greater chance they might. And what an experience that would be for those who use it! It reminds me of when my principal, who asked us to think outside of the box after a tech conference, asked me to put my Sliderocket presentation on a flash drive because the "Internet" might not work that day.The "Internet" worked just fine.

When I was thinking of a way for my kids to creatively describe themselves, I chose Tagxedo as a way to do that. While planning my lesson, I did not begin with, "How can I use Tagxedo today?" When I want to connect with students in another state or country, I use Wallwisher, Edmodo, Twitter, etc... because it's a way to connect beside pen and paper.  When I want my students to share their thoughts simultaneously about the novel I am reading aloud, "Today's Meet" is a wonderful tool. And, I don't only use the Smartboard during observations, just to prove that I am using "technology", because that's what "they" want to see.

All the wonderful things I do with my class is not done to "show off". It's because it engages my students and makes teaching enjoyable. And yes, I do have a life. There are so many great ideas I get from so many different people in my PLN, so there's no need to spend every waking hour trying to find them on my own.

We have to let go of this fear of the unknown , the fear of change. We have to remember that we should be lifelong learners, and not be scared to share our knowledge, even in a way that might not be comfortable for us!

photo credit: ~Aphrodite via photopin cc


  1. That's rather a lame anti-tech excuse. Do we not use our vehicles because they 'might not work'? Or turn our AC on, because it "might not work"? I feel your pain...
    I agree--if students are engaged, it's a better chance that they'll actually learn ways to think and interact with the world around them.

  2. And to think it was only yesterday when we laughed at our parents for not being able to set the timer on the VCR! Yes, keeping up with today's tech is a TRACK MEET; a wonderful track meet, to be sure, but keeping up with all the latest, greatest CAN be intimidating if you set your mind that way.

    That's the key - YOUR mindset. Whether tech is a tool or a trap depends solely on how YOU see it.

    My parents are both gone now - they no longer have to worry about keeping up with things like setting the clock on the VCR. The rest of us who remain here; learn to keep up or you'll be gone soon enough, too! Change simply demands that you keep up.

    All the best from Toronto,

  3. You raise some very good points in this post. In my experience as an Instructional Technologist, when technology "does not work" for a teachers, it is due to their lack of preparation and testing before introducing a new tool/website into their instruction. Another common issue is the lack of scaffolding for technology. Teachers scaffold all day everyday when it comes to content. However, when teachers introduce a new website our application, teachers throw at the students expecting it to stick. Then when it does not go the way they want, they blame it on the "technology." I think you would love our blog Helping teachers identify and articulate how and why technology is being integrated into the curriculum and their classrooms. Please check us out or follow us on twitter!

  4. Hi, great post!
    Technology seems to help what someone is already doing to be done more efficiently, even in your case with teaching a classroom. I remember taking part as the first class in my high school to use, almost exclusively, Computer Based Learning in my math class. I had a great experience with it and have been a supporter ever since.
    I'll definitely post a link to your site on my blog:
    It's my first ever blog and it devotes itself to informing others about the past, present, and future of interactive tools for learning. Feel free to take a gander!

  5. So true! I see that with co-workers as well as non-traditional and traditional undergrad and grad students. I try to get them to understand that 1) you can't break it and 2) you can learn this. The whole learning on your own time excuse bothers me because it just isn't professional.

  6. Hi,

    Good Points! This is an interesting blog full of some neat ideas, so glad to have found this gem.
    I am so excited about how effective and efficient technology is for teachers and students. I have seen so much learning take place as a result of a podcast, wiki, blog or webpage that students have created to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
    Recently I have encountered a few admin challenges. Instead of using the projector for my smartboard, I was instructed to use the chalkboard and overhead. Instead of using blackboard for the class I was instructed to use the textbooks. This is not aligned to what the overall mission and focus of the main employer/ school system has envisioned for their current and future goals. It bothers me when I am not able to sign up anywhere or take any of my classed of @ 200 student load for a trip to the computer lab since there is "no time or space" however some classes have weekly access.
    There are a handful of teachers who are 21st century instructors and do not use blackboards, overheads not chalkboards to effectively and efficiently instruct. I am very thankful for my cohorts from the grad program and friends in various schools throughout the US who
    always are interested in sharing and exchanging ideas for how to use technology to assist and accelerate learning.
    Anyone interested in an online plan book?
    helps to reduce some paperwork. I agree with Mike, it does make teaching more efficient. Thanks for your encouraging posts everyone.

  7. KF CITS (Stacy & Cindy)November 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    We hope more of our teachers on our campus will embrace the technology and remember that we are here to help them every step of the way! Fantastic article!

  8. It sounds like you really effective at using technology in your lessons to engage and pass on information. That's a great achievement. I think it is a mistake to use the word technology as catch all definition when we are really just talking about computers or the internet. Nobody I have ever met has a fear or mistrust of the wheel or a toaster or a watch. However many people I know have found it difficult to feel at ease with computers or have wasted many many hours trying to get things done on computers or have a mistrust or misunderstanding of the internet. You come across as very intolerant of these people and I don't think it helps to ridicule them in an educational article. There are lots of 'we have to's and 'we should' in your article. I really hope that you come across as more understanding of the people you work with every day. I feel very ease with computers and the internet. i love them. But I feel fortunate that I have not had to struggle for that sense of ease. If I did have a fear I would feel very intimidated about coming to ask for your assistance if that is the attitude you have. I wish you luck in your journey of persuasion.