I just finished reading this section in the April 2007, Learning and Leading with Technology. This is the “Point/Counterpoint” section that is in every month. Just so you know, if you are not an every month reader of this section trying to follow the PDF version of this document might be a bit confusing. I am not advocating for you to print it, I just want you to know that the top on page one goes with the top on page two. The prompt of the article is, “Are schools better than they were 20 years age.” The secondary or more detailed prompt on the same article is, “Has the introduction and proliferation of educational technology improved teaching and learning.” I have got to say, over all, no. Schools in our area are still sterile, cold and uninviting places to try to learn and the introduction of technology has not changed that. I am not sure that teachers have any better relationships with their students than they did 20 years ago. I am not saying that all teachers do not have relationships with their students. I am not saying that.
When I wake up in the morning, I am excited to go to work. They actually pay me to learn about technology and influence teachers to use technology in their classes to make the lives of students better. It is like a baseball player that wakes up and realizes that he or she gets to play baseball today and they are going to pay him or her for that. Teachers need to wake up and feel the same way. I look at my environment at work and my work place looks nothing like the classrooms that I attended at school, except for maybe my graduate school experience when I went to school on-line. My environment at work is inviting. I have pictures up of my children. I often drink coffee and snack. I collaborate with colleagues on the phone or via the computer. The first thing you are told in a school is, “please don’t talk to your neighbor” and you get better grades if you don’t talk to the people. I am rewarded at work if I collaborate. Collaboration is what makes the gem stone a jewel. When you come up with an idea and others discuss it and mull it over the idea becomes practical and something that can have life breathed into it.
I really agree with what Marc Simmons say in this article. I particularly like this quote, “We cannot afford to put rubber tires on the oxcart; rather we must upgrade the cart into a tool relevant for today’s society.” Actually, the school should not look and feel like the work place of today, it really needs to look and feel like the work place of the future. We need to be putting rubber tires on schools that promote collaboration, meaningful relationships and environments of innovation and conceptualization.