I spent a few hours last night at the vendors dinner, and opening event for the TETA Summer Institute. I must say that I was impressed with the turn out, considering that the conference was at a middle school some ways from Nashville. People had to weight spending hours talking to vendors, with enjoying the distractions of Nashville. Then there was the food. That explained a good part of the large turnout.
I talked with the folks at Plato, Riverdeep, and Discovery Educator Network. But, because the attendees are mostly technology directors and technicians, most of the exhibits were geeky. They were routers, security solutions, racks, and lots of stuff that I don’t even understand. I saw this computer screen, and had to take a picture. At first it looked like a video game, but then on closer inspection, I guessed what it really was, a way of visualizing your school’s wireless access points and the various computers that are drawing on the info. Robert Daniels, Account Manager for Coleman Technologies, Inc. described it to me. Looks like fun.
Now, this is exactly what I would want to have — if I was a principal. I would love to be able to see where digital networked information is being used in my school, the information hot spots, and the black cold spots where it is not. I’d want to know who has their students laptops out and using them, and who doesn’t.
Now this begs the very important question, “Can a teacher be a good teacher without using technology?” Of course the answer is yes. But I ask another question. “Is a teacher doing his or her job if they are not using technology?” My answer to that question is a resounding, “No!” Literacy must be an integral and constant part of our students learning, and any educator who believes that literacy is merely the ability to read text, count and calculate, and write a coherent paragraph on paper is still preparing their students for the 1950s. I guess this is really the topic of my keynote today.