In a conversation I had recently with a colleague about teachers using technology, he made the two following points:
- He was constantly shocked by the way his fellow professionals made the ‘lack of time’ argument when it came to upskilling themselves.
- He could not believe that all teachers do not consider a main priority to be the use of technology and ensuring students develop their digital knowledge and skills during all learning they provide
To further elaborate on point 1, this is a man approaching retirement (are you listening Prensky?) and he told me that he had worked outside of education for many years ‘in a trade’. He argued that skilling yourself up is the norm in any trade. You don’t get extra time for this in most cases but those who do are more likely to stay in work, gain promotion, more customers, etc. Hence, it tends to be the norm to do so or to put it in his terms, it is part of the job. This is surely a cultural feature of the trades that he was referring to.
On point 2, this is a man who buys his own device that suits him rather than taking the free school laptop provided. He researches and resources ways of working that put students digital life/employability skills at the forefront of the education programmes they are involved in (eg collaborative online note-taking, eportflio construction, etc). He insists on their involvement in these ways of working and makes it clear to the students why such involvement is vital to their life after school.
Therefore, to relate all this back to the teaching profession, his argument is that the use of technology and developing teaching methods that push its use, are a vital component of the everyday job that all teachers do. Ok, that’s nothing new really but perhaps what is a relatively different way of thinking about all this is that it is just an everyday part of the job.
Maybe it’s a change of culture we need here, a cultural overhaul of the teaching profession. Should schools and the profession as a whole be moving away from considering providing extra incentives (time, money, leadership roles, etc) when it is part of the job? Do we do that for marking work, for example? Let’s go even further and raise the question: is a culture of ‘special treatment’ for teachers to upskill themselves in respect of technology holding back chances of a cultural overhaul?
I am looking forward to any thoughts to grow the seed my colleague planted
image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/5131064113