Remember floppy disks and reel-to-reel projectors and when we called the Internet the “information superhighway?” Changes in technology occur so frequently that if you blink, you might miss them. It can be a challenge for educators to keep pace when their students are often 10 steps ahead of them. We asked some principals whether they feel that educators are being left behind in technology and here’s what they had to say...
Alabama Principal Frank Buck writes: Being on the "cutting edge" is really hard, because the "edge" never stays still. On the other hand, the basics of word processing and spreadsheet management have been around for over 20 years now, and an amazing number of teachers still think "cut and paste" is something you do with scissors and glue. Offer a technology workshop on the basics, and you won't find them there. Who do you find? The teachers who are already pretty good with technology, see it as a friend, and want to take their skills to the next level.
Montana Principal Pat Hould writes: Unless educators are able to participate in meaningful and sustained staff development opportunities, we will be left behind. Technology training, if it is truly going to be meaningful, must be ongoing and not offered as a stand alone or "drive-by" type in-service. Summer institutes and/or weekend type trainings, coupled with ongoing tech support "in house," seem to be the best sources of technology development for my staff.
Missouri Principal Teresa Tulipana writes: Technology is expensive and for educators to not be left behind, school districts must budget with technology in mind. When budgets cannot support the technology needs of a school, grants should be pursued, like the eMINTS program. Having said this, I still see pockets of educators who struggle to turn on a laptop or to effectively search the Internet. Administrators must provide numerous opportunities for teachers to stretch their technological skills; administrators should highlight staff who embed technology into their curriculum and classrooms; and, most importantly, administrators must strive to keep current and model the effective use of technology.
Oklahoma Principal Jan Borelli writes: There must be a sound technology leader in the district who can not only drive innovation, but also make it inviting. I think we will see a change in a lot of things... particularly how we assess students. Our state is now beginning testing some students on the computer... it's easier, cheaper, and is coming... keep an eye out for it.
Arizona Principal Stephen Poling writes: The students are many steps ahead with technology, which is just fine. That should motivate educators to try to catch up so that we can engage students to use technology. Looking at the popularity of sites like You Tube and My Space should give educators ideas as well as incentives to see how we can use those types of mediums for teaching the standards. If educators aren’t careful, we will be too far behind in technology to engage kids in learning.
Do you think educators are being left behind? Let us know your thoughts.
Tomorrow, read how these principals stay abreast of the latest technological changes.