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Teachers & Technology — a rant!

This morning, I was scanning back over last weeks TechLearning blogs, written by my esteemed colleagues, when I was struck by Jeff Utecht’s post,  Fear Factor.  Jeff’s comments resonated with me because of several conversations I had last week with administrators and tech integrators from schools I worked for in Connecticut and Maryland.

The idea of fearful teachers came up several times, and I have to admit an increasing frustration with this issue.  Why do we treat teachers so delicately?  Why do we forgive them year after year for not adopting contemporary information and communication tools?  Why are we satisfied with small steps?

Well, the answer is simple.  Teachers are special.  They are smart, resourceful, incredibly accomplished, and they work miracles — they make a difference.  They influence so many lives and they are revered.  It’s clear.  How can we treat them with anything but awe and respect — especially when no one really has a clear picture of what integrating technology means?  If we might fast forward to ISTE’s new NETS, what do creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, research, information fluency, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and digital citizenship really look like in a technology rich classroom?

For several years, many of us have been trying to make a case for thinking about education in new ways, largely as a result of technological advancements and their affects on how we use information.  I think that many education leaders are listening now.  I think that they are ready for clear images and stories about 21st century classrooms and what teachers and students should be doing to better prepare a generation of new century citizens.

Howling at the Moon For me, I have to admit that I’ve become fairly comfortable howling at the moon.  Refocusing on sharing and even inventing concrete applications will be a pretty hard corner or me to turn.  But it will also be exciting.

As for the teachers?  Well, I’ve become dissatisfied with Marc Prenski’s portrayal of digital natives and digital immigrants.  It’s a useful distinction, but not if teachers make it an excuse not to try.  I think that our children have every right to expect that their teachers will teach more from today’s information landscape.  If you think about it, they only taste that most children have of the 20th century, is their classrooms — where we’re supposed to be preparing them for the 21st century.

I almost lost it when I read, in Cheryl Oats’ comment, “..someone told me they didn’t want to learn one more new thing, they didn’t like new things..“  I would want to ask, “You call yourself a teacher?”  Who more than teachers should be willing and eager to learn new things?

Calming myself back down again, I have to remind myself that technology is anything that was invented after you were born.  Our kids, as Jeff reminds us, grew up with computers and the Internet.  They become so accomplished with these tools because it’s play for them.  I think that I took to computers simply because I remembered playing with Legos.  Perhaps we need to teach teachers to play again.

Sorry for the rambling rant!


  • http://edsysad.org Andrew Chlup

    I can appreciate your rant because we’ve all felt similar things. Two things you said really struck home with me.

    I think that they are ready for clear images and stories about 21st century classrooms and what teachers and students should be doing to better prepare a generation of new century citizens.

    1. We need to provide reluctant educators more concrete models of what Education 2.0 is in practical application. We need to overcome all of the “what ifs” and show teachers that their fears have been addressed in a variety of ways.

    Teachers are special. They are smart, resourceful, incredibly accomplished, and they work miracles — they make a difference.

    2. While all of these things are true, you forgot that teachers are also professionals. What other profession is allowed to remain ignorant of technological advances in their field?

    Would you accept a doctor who refused to use modern medical technologies just because it did not “feel” right. No way!

    You would expect the doctor to understand when new technologies should be used and when traditional methods are better. You would expect the doctor to at least understand the options.

    This is what the expectation should be for educators. Know the pro and cons for both using new technologies and not using new technologies. Understand why and when you might use something new.

    The desire to learn new things is at the heart of every good teacher. If we give teachers frameworks and programs build an understanding of new technology then I think they will use it.

  • Rich Magee

    Your next-to-last paragraph regarding someone who didn’t want to learn one new thing really struck me (and so did Andrew’s comment). We’d laugh at any teacher who decided that he would ignore any president after, say, Gerald Ford, pretending that we remained back in 1975! I’m reminded of my Uncle Duane, whose tie collection ceased to grow sometime around that same period in the mid 70′s. However, his fashion statement didn’t really affect anyone except for himself; a teacher’s unwillingness to continue to learn most definintely DOES extend beyond to that teacher’s students.

    I agree with your question: “Who more than teachers should be willing and eager to learn new things?”

  • http://teachweb2.blogspot.com Wendy DG

    I couldn’t agree with you more. One more point…Yes, children are born into a world with more technology than when we arrived. However, they are not born knowing how to use technology and use it responsibly. Teachers need to take the reigns and do what they do best…learn and TEACH.

  • http://dmcordell.blogspot.com diane

    Am I the only teacher who reads this blog?

    I spent all summer trying to educate myself about technology tools that might enhance my curriculum. This was done on my own time; I will get no stipend or even PD credit from my district.

    Although my administrators say they appreciate my efforts and have agreed to let me try blogs, wikis, etc. in my new Current Events class, there is no guarantee that our network will be able to consistently support 21st century technologies; I know that will have to get our IT to unblock flickr and many other useful sites. I’ve already been told that streaming will be slow or non-existent.

    Until there is a national requirement for a minimum level of technology access for all students, teachers, even those who WANT to embed 21st century tools and teach their students to be information literate, will remain hostile and/or frustrated.

  • http://kherbert.wordpress.com/ Kimberly

    My problem is not the classroom teachers. I have some very enthusiastic co-workers, and the others are recognizing that technology is a tool not another program.

    Just last week, my 2 most technophobic teachers tried something new – on their own. They both encountered glitches, but didn’t panic. They simply asked for help. The fixes were simple, and then the teachers went on with their projects.

    My campus level administrators are also great. I showed them Blogmeister – and we get to blog this year. I took a district class in podcasting – and we get to podcast this year.

    My problem is the 2nd or 3rd from the top tech people. They block everything – I was in total shock that Blogmeister came through the filter, I thought the word blog would cause it to be blocked. Blogs, Wiki’s are blocked left and right. Google Docs was blocked, which drove the facilitators of a district workshop up the wall. We were supposed to collaborate with several other groups in El Paso, Dallas, New York. We couldn’t, because they refused to unblock the site.

    I hoping our Superintendent does his campus visits again this year. I would really like to speak to him about the roadblocks some tech administrators are putting up. He has been very responsive about things in the past, so hopefully we can get over these roadblocks.

  • http://digitalmusiceducator.wordpress.com Owen Bradley

    How can teachers NOT feel fearful given that most of our school districts are speaking out of both sides of their mouths?

    Innovate! Use technology! BUT- only use the technology that is approved by the district. You mustn’t use open source software- only use the stuff that the district has purchased…nevermind that your laptop is a glorified paperweight because you can’t install any applications or even change your settings.

    I am trying to integrate technology in my classroom, but am blocked at every turn by firewalls, proxies, filters, and permissions. When I ask for help, the response is that they are woefully understaffed (they really are- one tech person to about 50 teachers).

    You can’t have it both ways! Either let us try to integrate as we understand the tools and get out of the way- or provide adequate resources and time to learn the “approved” tools.

    The standard answer is “legal issues”. We had better quickly determine how we are going to deal with the flattening of information access and sharing or become so paranoid that we will invite litigation that we are paralyzed from moving forward down the path we know we must travel.

  • Ann

    What a fabulous blog comment and responses. Great questions and points.
    I too feel the frustrations when seeing teachers who won’t learn about what their kids need. The person who made the comment about the doctor is right on. Frank McCord said, “Those who are not learning, are not teaching”.
    The problem I feel is the system. The demands on the classroom teacher are overwhelming. More and more initiatives are put on the plate and nothing is taken off. It’s the system that needs to change.Teachers need to be provided time to learn, not sub days where you spend double the time to et plans ready and then more time to recap what ahppenend when the sub was there. It then should NOT be an opetion. Also, teachers need to have the hardware in working order available to them personally and to their students.
    It is a huge dilema…. perhaps a perfect storm.
    Do other countries have better working models?

    Big dreams, I guess.

  • http://pesdtechnology.blogspot.com John Kain

    Kimberly and Owen, you highlight a major issue that frustrates many tech-savvy teachers. My experience as a teacher and educational technology specialist is that district IT departments:
    1. Are woefully understaffed,
    2. Are staffed by people who have no training or background in education, and
    2. Report to the assistant superintendent for business, who is focused on making and saving money for the district. That focus filters down to the IT department.

    • Dave

      “2. Are staffed by people who have no training or background in education”

      I find this comment interesting. In my experience, you want people in admin and support positions who have backgrounds in their actual job function and have been shown how an education environment differs from a corporate environment. I want my district’s tech support to help me get the problem fixed much more than I want them to know what it’s like to write a year of lesson plans.

      That said, a truly professional professional will take strides to do their job well, even if it means seeking out resources and experience themselves…maybe that’s what’s actually missing.

  • http://aquaculturepda.edublogs.org/ Sue Waters

    Yesterday I was asked to give a presentation, on elearning leadership, to a team of teachers who have been chosen to encourage and inspire the uptake of technology and elearning in their school. Being a TAFE lecturer, I decided it would be best in terms of “Tips for how do we get educators to buy into elearning” if I got other teachers to give me tips to pass onto the teachers (theory was “like relates better to like”).

    Darren Draper was nice enough to create a really funny video for my presentation, and in it he spoke about how he talked with you at the NECC conference for advice on that exact topic. He said your advice was “I don’t have to sell it that much, I just show them the power of the tools. When a teacher sees how incredibly powerful the Internet is and elearning, and web 2.0, and how easy it is to use, or can be to use, basically it sells itself.”

    Unfortunately the teachers that I gave the presentation for, weren’t necessarily themselves, ready to engage the use of technology. Reflecting back, mmmmm, so my question is when you are in this situation, you obviously show the teachers the tools – which tools do you focus on, and what words do you use when showing the tools to make them actually want to spend the time.

    Darren’s video, if you want to check it out, which is so incredibly funny, is located on my post How Do We Get Others To BUY IN? To Make Them Go The Extra Miles With E-learning?


  • http://ahlness.com Mark Ahlness

    (I left this over on techLearning, but this is where the action is – am happy to see some other teachers weighing in…)

    Neither you nor Jeff mention the two fears that I see crippling teachers way more than any fear of the new or unknown:

    1) the fear of tech administrators to even look at web 2.0. Maybe you guys run across enlightened, progressive tech administrators everywhere you go, I don’t know. From where I sit, the fear of those in charge of technologies (fear of empowering teachers, fear of the unknown, fear of public scrutiny, etc.) – essentially stops the process of getting new technologies and the requisite knowledge to use them into the hands of teachers.

    2) For those teachers who are out there pushing new technologies, there is clearly the fear of losing their jobs. I’ve seen it happen, and I do think about it – every day.

    There ya go Dave – one good rant deserves another :) – Mark, a teacher

    • http://www.thethinkingstick.com Jeff Utecht


      1) I am the tech administrator..I am pushing teachers to use these new tools and pulling administrators at the same time. I think there are more out there, they just let #2 get in there way.

      2) If I loose my job it’s for pushing what’s right for kids. I’ll take that challenge!

  • http://www.stonepooch.com/blog audrey

    Oh please. Teachers are not revered, nor is the world going to collapse because some 8th grade teacher in Peoria doesn’t want to blog or podcast with her students.

    Why chafe at the realities of human nature. Some will resist. Some will jump at the chance. And in one generation it will be a non-issue anyway. If that doesn’t do it for you, and you really want to see it happen sooner, look back to human nature.

    Teachers are not motivated by piety, pressure or naivete. Tell them that they should do it for the children and they will despise you for your piety. Harangue them and tell them that they must do it and they will lumber along slowly to your pressure. Tell them that they should love to learn and to play and they merely snicker. We’re all really excited by our own ideas, rarely about someone else’s. This is your idea of play, your vision for the classroom, your idea of what must be done. To make something of it, it has to be their idea.

    If you really want to make them move? Give them real reasons to buy in… because none of the above are moving anyone off of the position that they already gave at the office, especially when they already did.

    In my district, the teachers who used technology the most were the first to get smartboards. The principal didn’t say you better do this or you wont get that (because that shuts down the whole game, as coercion usually does). He did say that it was for the children, but the teachers pretty much napped through that part. Instead, he simply said, the people who use technology the most will get smartboards first and help teach the rest of us how to use it. Eventually, I’d like us all to have smartboards, but that’s down the road a piece. And, he was as good as his word. Those of us who always use tech were in the first wave of smartboards and we had them a year and a half before more came in. Suddenly, the phobes were chafing at the bit to get into the lab and do something that would put them in line for the new technology. We’re on our last wave of smartboards. They’re probably not as tech savvy as you would have them be, but when the five minutes from retirement crew comes into the lab to make video poems… I’d say some progress has been made

  • http://professor-marvel.com/blog Ric Murry

    I do not worry about “fearful teachers.” I think it is the “fearful administrator,” “fearful superintendent,” and “fearful IT department” that are the problem. But I’ve been howling at this moon for over 2 years. My voice hurts. As Audrey said, in a generation this will correct itself. That will be too late for some, but face it…that is education no matter what century.

  • http://www.teacherbytes.blogspot.com John Woodring

    My day as a Technology Integrationist is a constant battle as David Warlick said in his posting. Last year when it came time for teachers to turn in their technology portfolios, a few tried to find ways out of doing it. Others, tried to get other teachers to do their work for them, with some even passing the work off as their own. I was shocked at this behavior and left wondering if they accepted such behavior from their students. This is a school where my son also is a student.

    This year, the principal at my school is allowing teachers to post weekly lesson agendas on blogs I have set up through our school’s website. Things were working well until an assistant principal decided to email an outdated lesson plan template form. It caused confusion amongst teachers. Emails flooded my box asking why they should write out their lesson plans (and syllabus) when they could just attach the documents as a download. This was after I had explained that some downloads are not the best thing due to fear of viruses from attachments and my setting up RSS feeds for the blogs. They don’t understand the end user.

    The final thing that gets me is the “I can’t get the computer lab so I can’t use technology” argument. I offer many plans to use the one to two computers in their computers in their rooms and still accomplish learning objectives. It usually means kids who have computers at home do the assignment at home and those who don’t rotate using the computers in the classroom. The response to my suggestion is, “Most of my students don’t have computers with the Internet at home so it can’t be done.”

    There are other frustrations trying to do my job but I carry on, one teacher at time. Also, most teachers are willing to try some of the things I suggest.

  • http://edtechlearning.weebly.com David Robb

    I think Ann is on target here. Fear is part of the issue but the bigger issue, I feel, is time.

    Teachers have so much on their plate and more is being piled on. To truly learn how to integrate a tool, like a blog, into a classroom, teachers need some level of expertise. To gain that expertise a teacher should start reading blogs, commenting, and probably start their own blog. This is a long term commitment and many teachers, through no fault of their own, don’t have the time to do this.

    So, if we can get rid of the fear can we provide the time?

  • http://www.stonepooch.com/blog audrey

    Perhaps a teacher shouldn’t be willing to teach an entire class in a one or two computer classroom where some kids rotate onto the computer and other kids do the work at home? If a district isn’t going to put the infrastructure in place then their commitment is the problem and it may be better NOT to help them to justify the lack of resources? At one point… in my district there was some complaint about teachers not using email and making websites for their classes. But most teachers didn’t even have a computer in their classrooms. They were supposed to go use computers in the library. The teachers refused. (I actually did it at home anyway because I have a particular interest in technology, but I was with them on it philsophically) They said quite directly that without the resources the objective could not be met. Those computers showed up. I think holding administrations responsible (both district and governmental) for the goals of their rhetoric is a better way than smiling bravely and effectively reducing pressure on admin to articulatewa reasonable expectations supported with resources that make it possible

  • http://edsysad.org Andrew Chlup

    If a district isn’t going to put the infrastructure in place then their commitment is the problem…

    audrey makes a great point about unfunded mandates. Often times technology in schools is not very planned, implemented, or supported. That being said, I have found that it usually the grassroots, teacher level actions, that actually bring about meaningful change to instruction in the classroom.

    I think this really breaks down to this:

    First, is the just a “What comes first? The chicken or the egg?” exercise?

    We’ve got lots of blame here between lazy teachers, short-sighted administrators, and malicious IT directors, but were do we begin?

    Do we need to provide more support to those teachers that are doing it right? or focus on schools? districts? states? What scale should shot for to create change? Where should we concentrate our efforts at reform?

    Next is technology is becoming such a huge part of education, so is time to define the needs of educational IT into a more coherent idea/map?

    In my district, our IT director answers to the Superintendent, not the business office. This certainly gives us a flexibility I have yet to see duplicated.

    I guess it just comes back to finding solutions. I see lots of causes, but what can be done? It looks like a good place to start is addressing and defining the IT needs of a educator.

  • http://ashworth.wordpress.com Justin Ashworth

    “..someone told me they didn’t want to learn one more new thing, they didn’t like new things..“ I would want to ask, “You call yourself a teacher?” Who more than teachers should be willing and eager to learn new things?

    Boom! Hit the nail on the head.


  • http://casl.wordpress.com Nancy White

    Its true – superintendents, IT departments, and the public as a whole are very squeamish about Web 2.0 technologies – perhaps because they just don’t understand the possiblities – or they understand too much about the possiblities. They also don’t seem to understand the neccessity of teaching our students to use these tools safely and ethically – and purposefully in an educational setting. Kids will continue to use them -with our without us. Blogs, wikis & social networking sites are all blocked in my district too – but we won a small victory. The district is now allowing these tools to be opened up to staff. Baby steps. I intend to work like crazy to find the “early adopters” in my district to start using these tools – and help develop and spread a vision of how to integrate them into meaningful instruction. The key is always to start with the willing – and the able. Put the emphasis on good teaching – then show how these tools can support that teaching, and can provide an environment for critical thinking and the development of 21st century skills.

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    • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com Dave

      This is cool. I wrote a blog article that linked to this article, and it automatically included the reference as a comment. I love the intelligence that is embedding in blogging — basically an un-impressive process. ;-)

  • http://www.stager.org/blog Gary Stager

    It’s 6:30 AM now and despite writing all night, I sure hope someone will read my contribution to this discussion at http://www.stager.org/blog/2007/09/why-teachers-dont-use-web-20-historical.html

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  • http://www.k12geek.com/blog Dave Solon

    Would you accept a doctor who refused to use modern medical technologies just because it did not “feel” right. No way!

    Andrew – I’m loading this comment into my arsenal. Thanks!


  • http://www.ectolearning.com Stephen Becker, Ph.D.

    This is a wonderful thread. Thanks, everyone.

    Recently I’ve been working with a progressive school that is adopting school-wide the educational social networking tool and online LMS/Personal Learning Environment known as EctoLearning.

    Despite being a very progressive school and despite Ecto being designed for ease of use, not all of the teachers were equally jazzed about diving in. Many were frothing with enthusiasm but why the hesitation on the part of some?

    My impression was that the hesitation on the part of some teachers had to do less with fear and more to do with bandwidth. As Ann more eloquently pointed out, teachers have a tremendous amount on their plates. They need * time * to learn and explore the tools available to them.

    To this end, one of the schools adopting Ecto held a training session before the semester commenced. They also used EctoLearning to create their own help group—this enables them to share ideas and offer assistance to one another within the Ecto environment itself.

    John also raised a great point about IT resources. Luckily with regard to schools or individual teachers adopting EctoLearning, IT resources have been almost a non-issue. The school I mentioned earlier has very limited IT resources but one thing they like about EctoLearning is that it’s a hosted solution (SaaS), ‘software as a service’—so there isn’t anything for them to install or maintain.

    I’ve mentioned the following link before but wanted to include it again for anyone who is new and might be curious about EctoLearning. It’s a brief video that the company made to explain EctoLearning. It includes interviews with teachers, administrators, and students ranging from the elementary school level to college.


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  • http://www.plansforusblog.com Tyler Fonda

    I must say that I really liked Audrey’s comment. While David’s rant is a welcome call for action, those actions must be founded in the reality of how we as humans adopt change.

    As Audrey says:
    Teachers are not motivated by piety, pressure or naivete…If you really want to make them move? Give them real reasons to buy in…

    There is a massive demographic happening in teaching over the next 7 years which creates an opportunity to integrate new tools into the classroom, but it must be accompanied by sound reasoning and a clear path to benefit.

    As a 28 year old and friend to many of the next generation of teachers, I can assure you that they will not change their behavior based on proclamations of war and battle that have been expressed in some of these comments. They will however be open to adopting a progressive framework for adding tools that benefit teachers and the classroom.

  • http://www.plansforusblog.com Tyler Fonda

    Missed a word
    “…a massive demographic shift happening…”

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  • David Carpenter

    I am going to focus on your question about what the new NETS will look like in the classroom. If we as technology and information literacy leaders look at the next big thing, it is collaborating with our teachers to design instruction and curriculum to have our students reach these new standards. Our community needs to find the instructional strategies that our teachers are already using that do the job. We should find a way to share these best practices and to then share ideas in coming up with new ones that really work in the classroom. David, maybe you could add a wiki to your blog for this purpose. Sound reasonable?

    We will be discussing your question in one of the Learning 2.0 sessions in Shanghai this weekend as we look at the role of the Instructional Technologist as a leader for curriculum and instruction development in our schools.

    • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com Dave

      I’ve been thinking the very same thing, that we need a site or a social network dedicated to building knowledge and technique for teaching creativity, innovation, communication, etc. and assessing it.

      I’m not sure I’m the one to do it. I’m not especially good at social networks. It might be something that ISTE should do, though.

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  • David Carpenter

    Dave, we picked up on the new NETS at the Learning 2.0 conference. A few of us are working to connect with others who already are matching exemplars with the new standards so maybe a network is forming to discuss this important topic. We might get something going there but in the meantime I think the folks at ISTE probably are moving on this. You were missed in Shanghai. Many connections were made.

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  • Anne Marie Dominguez

    I wish everyone on the technology bandwagon would cool the rants for a minute and pause for some critical thinking instead of spouting. I am not adverse to learning, I am curious and constantly search for new INFORMATION on the Internet for books I have taught for over 10 years. I love my teacher website and posting assignments, grades, messages, etc. HOWEVER, I do believe that there is a large assumption that all children of the “millenial” generation are savvy Internet users, bloggers, wiki-whatevers: in my experience they rely on the few routes suggested by peers or parents and if something comes up that hits somewhere on the radar they consider that a reliable, accurate success. I hardly call being able to throw together a collage of images and quips for a Facebook or MySpace page rocket science. They lack (and I say this with the most respect for my students and their limited life experience) patience, life-experience, knowledge and competent reading comprehension skills. Having my students work through an Internet search lesson, the majority of them were fooled into thinking that a spoof website was a legitimate source of information. Why? Because it “looked” official, had a lot of writing that they didn’t bother to read carefully, and the web design was appealing. I am not FEARFUL of technology but I am frustrated by being accused of being fearful or reluctant simply because I question the actual benefit of a technology-loaded classroom or curriculum. I for one believe that students see technology as a shortcut to learning to which there is none. There are shortcuts to finding information but not synthesizing, analyzing it, or evaluating it. I also have difficulty with the benefit of blogging particularly because most people without established writing professional writing credentials tend to do it under a name that is a flimsy identity which allows bloggers to be reckless and remain unaccountable for their comments or thoughts. The open Internet is not a kind, gentle, nuturing space. It is free and public but in reality the good, helpful, credible stuff costs. What is really worth our attention is studying the impact of screen time, texting, and emailing has on brain development. I am betting it is not a positive one. Some professionals espouse that if the brains are being formed differently then we need to teach to that. But what if the impact diminishes the capacity to think? Do we forego teach students how to think and view images and words beyond the surface? I get the feeling that technology is being pushed because it’s becoming a larger portion of the market of which I am reluctant to fashion the curriculum and learning of my students and my own children.

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  • http://doodeesthailand.blogspot.com/ Doodee

    Thanks for sharing

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  • http://getwordwall.com/About/Blogs Ben

    I witnessed a big push in the UK over the last 5-10 years to get VLE (virtual learning environments) into all schools. It was heavily resisted by teachers. But what with funding cuts these last year or so, its now not getting pushed so much and quietly disappearing off the radar.

    So are teachers fighting to retain the funding? Well no, not really. The reason, those luddite teachers actually got it right. VLEs are great for university sized institutions, but not so great for smaller schools where the economies of scale are different.

  • http://ecs.k12.ny.us Eda Nemeroff-Hanington

    As an educator and a person who used to despise technology I can understand the fear of new technology however I agree that the lack of teacher understanding of technology is appalling.

    Several years ago I married my husband who is a “techie” not in the rebuild computers way but in the I must find more ways to incorporate technology into my classroom way. He believes that all students should have access to as much technology as possible and that school need to stop worrying about computers replacing teachers but should embrace them. He says it is a responsibility of every educator to prepare not only a better student but a person ready to contribute to the community and the working world.

    I could not agree more not only having students understand how to use technology but to also use technology responsibly, with all of the aspects of cyber bullying and social networking sites it is our responsibilities as educators to not only be immersed in the technology but be able show students the way to use technology properly and to the best of their abilities. Anything less is irresponsible.

  • http://knofolio.net/ Andrew Coyle

    Hello David,

    I recently launched KnoFolio, an art education and community platform for aspiring artists (http://knofolio.net/). There is already a growing community of active users. I would love to give you more material if you are interested.

    BTW I am a college senior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.



  • Mary S. Kauffmann

    I think that our children have every right to expect that their teachers will teach more from today’s information landscape. If you think about it, they only taste that most children have of the 20th century, is their classrooms — where we’re supposed to be preparing them for the 21st century.
    This is my thought towards technology in education. As professional educators, our children have every right to expect that their teachers will teach more form today’s information. Another thing I see happening is the teachers are more tech savvy now since the turn of this century but I do have to agree with the comment from Diane #4
    Until there is a national requirement for a minimum level of technology access for all students, teachers, even those who WANT to embed 21st century tools and teach their students to be information literate, will remain hostile and/or frustrated. It’s time to step up to the plate and do whatever it takes to get us to the next level. And if it means setting national requirements then let’s set the requirements. Right now in schools, due to teaching to the test, PLC’s, collaborating with our colleagues to lesson plan, and on top of that professional development intertwined with teaching responsibilities, teachers are getting burned out, they are shutting down. It’s no wonder we are where we are. The biggest problem though is lack of funding in most cases. And that’s a whole different story.

  • Dominique

    I am fairly new to the education field. However, I found that educators should be the first to accept change but they hate change. Then, how can it be that being educators, we expect the students entering the classroom to change by learning what we teach them, but educators do not want to change.

    As an educator, I had to make technology changes because they are everywhere. Emails and texts are one way that my parents want to communicate with me. So I was willing to learn to text. I even got me an updated phone so that I could become more tech savvy. I also bought an Ipad a year ago to use in my class because we did not have much technology equipment in the classroom. I school was updated and now we have tech classroom (document cameras, laptops, and elmos)centralized in the classroom. Even though integrating technology into the classroom has somewhat hard for me I am willing to change and model to my students by example.

    • David Warlick

      ..and isn’t that the paradox here, that teachers, whose job it is to help children change their thinking, are so reluctant to do the same themselves.

      Perhaps the difference is between being challenged to learn and being directed to learn. Teachers traditionally direct their students. Good students would rather be directed. Many teachers become teachers because they were good students.

      Does that flow?

  • Pingback: Reflection Week 9: Teachers and Technology- A Rant!

  • Gale Fitts

    Dismayed that today, August 2014, teachers at my grandchildren’s school in Wake County don’t have a website or have not up-dated it since 2012! HELLO! The “TECHNOLOGY ALARM CLOCK” went off years ago when I was teaching!

  • Guest

    I completely agree that students staying in school for a long period of time is not the solution to increase their learning. Teachers must be updated through in-service training to access new research base instructional strategies that they can try and use in the classroom, or be given incentive to pursue higher learning. Parents’ involvement should also be encouraged in full force, so that there will be follow-ups of what went on in school to home. Based on my years of teaching experience, during the report cards night, only the parents of high achieving students would show up. There are long lines of parents wanting to see and talk to the AP teacher down the hall, while I only got 7 who are the parents of students doing very well in class. Parents should instill in the mind of their children the value of education and show them the example of how they truly care by volunteering in school activities and school functions. I think the parents are the best teachers. Students will be more engaged in school, and goal oriented when parents are more involved in their children’s education. Staying longer in school is not the answer for students to be effective learners. “Good” and passionate teachers plus supportive parents equals motivated and goal oriented learners.

  • Marites Siervo

    I have been an educator for many years. During my high school and college years, computers were not very accessible by many, unlike now. I used the old encyclopedia for my research work, and spent many hours in the library to do my assignments. Time has changed, as well as technology. So much information is available in the click of a button. Education is changing, so educators must do the same. One of the attributes of a good educator is to embrace change, especially for the good our students. Teachers are lifelong learners– the more we know, the more we can give. Technology teaches creativity, problem solving skills, analytical thinking, and critical thoughts to our students. Changes are hard for us teachers, however, we must be willing to upgrade ourselves to these technologies in order to be a good educator of the 21st century skills.

  • Nicole Frances

    Technology is so important to incorporate into the classroom! Education is constantly changing and so is the technology, as educators we must follow the trends of society. As a math teacher I use technology all of the time to enhance my lessons. We use graphing calculators and the smart board in almost all of my classes. Students are able to see functions graphed on their calculators and learn different features that the calculator has to offer other than just the four functions.

  • Robyn Goldberg

    Technology is crucial in our ever-changing world. I try to integrate technology into my lessons in math, science and health as a 4th grade teacher regularly. I am fortunate enough to have a computer lab, chromebooks and computers in my classroom all available at my school.

    I have gained a new appreciation for the connection between technology and
    physical education lately. I believe young children need to
    understand the importance of being active and living a healthy
    I have recently applied and
    been approved (for the first time) for the UNICEF KidPower program that
    begins this spring for my 4th graders. My students will wear fitness
    bands to track their movement and earn points. All data is tracked through an app. The points they earn will
    unlock food packets for malnourished children around the world. They
    are so excited to get involved in such a great cause. Not only will they
    be helping themselves but they will be helping others which is a win
    win in my book. I thought this was such a terrific way to connect
    technology and physical education and was happy to find this article to
    confirm the need to constantly integrate technology.

    My school has a Healthy Lifestyle
    committee of teachers. However, I’m not sure it is as effective as it
    could be. Does anyone have ideas to share about what teachers/staff do
    regularly to encourage students to be active using technology? Any thoughts that you
    share will be greatly appreciated!

  • Tami Bowen

    As a teacher, and someone who is passionate about learning new technologies, I often encounter teachers who are nervous about implementing it into their classrooms. This day and age, I see the importance for teachers to be fluent in technology. “New technological tools that require new technical knowledge make a profound impact on learning pedagogy” (Calik, Ebenezer, Ozsevgec, Kucuk, & Artun, 2015, p.449). Students are born into a technology world and if we are to help them survive and be knowledgeable about it, we must provide instruction and help them feel comfortable using it on a regular basis.

    Calik, M., Ebenezer, J., Ozsevgec, T., Kucuk, Z., & Artun, H. (2015). Improving science student teachers’ self-perceptions of fluency with innovative technologies and scientific inquiry abilities. Journal Of Science Education And Technology, 24(4), 448-460. doi: 10.1007/s10956-014-9529-1

    • Tami Bowen

      If teachers can learn how to use a smartphone, they should be able to learn new technologies and become fluent enough to integrate it into their lessons for student exposure. I believe as teachers, we need to be open-minded to new learnings. After all, we are supposed to be lifelong learners and model the desire to learn for our students.

    • Kellen Frye

      Tami. I agree with your post 100 percent. Even though your post was from a year ago, your ideas and statements about teachers being afraid to implement new technology ideas still holds true today. As the year 2018 begins, students are more involved with technology every day. It is true that students are born into a technology world. As a math teacher, if I am not integrating technology into the classroom each day, I am losing my students’ focus, and any chance of their success during school. Practice plays an essential role in student success. They must be in front of the technology to survive in this evolving world wrapped around technology.

  • Nida Ghanayem

    Few years ago, my school decided to go crazy with technology integration. They made internet available to all. New computer labs were made with Apple desktops. Each teacher got an Apple laptop and was sent to training. Our school are pushing us towards achieving the SAMR model at it highest point. At the beginning, I was extremely worried as mt technology skills were little. Now, I feel more comfortable and I am enjoying the benefits of using technology daily. I communicate with my students, post announcements, assign homework. and give online assessments. Technology is connecting me with teachers from outside my school, parents, and colleagues. A lot of research and learning are taking place because of this wonderful tool. Despite these benefits, there are few concerns that come up in the air. For me, technology is a tool that I have to learn how to use and stay updated. For my students who are masters at it because they are technology born, they can use it in the wrong ways. Some are using it as a tool for bullying and harassment.
    After reading this post , I felt comfortable as I was not the only one who is still in the stage of learning as we go.

    • Kellen Frye

      Some times it takes a school, or district, to jump in with both feet. Jumping into technology is a smart decision. Yes, teachers feel uncomfortable developing new lesson plans and trying to integrate technology, especially if technology is not a strong feature. However, jumping in with both feet and learning a new concept is something all teachers should be doing each day, to better themselves and better their students.

  • L Nichol

    I can understand being frustrated with “one more new thing”- but not so much in a learn-it sense as an implement-it sense. As a new teacher especially, it sometimes feels like there are ever-increasing hoops to jump through, with less and less incentive to make the jump. So much time is spent (I could argue “wasted” in a lot of cases) with meetings and pseudo-PLCs that it feels like we don’t get to actually teach. There is SOOOO much to remember and try to stay on top of that some days, when somebody tells you that you’ve got to add another thing to that pile…I just want to throw up my hands and faceplant on my desk.

  • Kellen Frye

    I thoroughly enjoy your statements that teachers are special, and yes, we do make a difference. Too often are we not seen by the outstanding work we do with every single student, year after year. Being a math teacher is just the start for me. I am leader, role model, positive influence, and for some, I am a father figure. I do not stand in front of the class to teach math day in and day out. I stand in front of the class to make a difference.
    The students today LOVE technology. As a teacher, if I am not integrating technology in the classroom every day, I lose my students, their focus and determination to succeed. Technology is the most important aspect of education today, second to the teacher providing the instruction!

  • Arslonbek Tishaboev

    I believe that one of the biggest challenges for teachers in the 21st century is that students interests are changing due to the technological devices and available knowledge sources. Due to the availability of the massive online open sources, teachers are not regarded as a figure of knowledge source as much as before. One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is to use new technological devices and open sources when reaching out to students. Using ICT in classrooms and encourage students to do online researches will be ideal in this situation. Teachers need to receive motivation and efficacy to generate dependable knowledge via action research and contribute to solve these new challenges.

Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
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