So my Odeo test during my presentation in Coshocton, Ohio didn’t work as expected yesterday and I’m not sure why. I think I’m going to start doing those “look how easy this is” type examples in some other space from here on out. Time to start a beta Blogger blog…
It was interesting yesterday speaking to about 200 teachers about all these shifts and changes, having an hour just to show them my practice and talk about RSS and del.icio.us and the other tools that have become such a part of my life. And as always, I could see a lot of faces in that thinking hard scrunch. (I could also see a few that would have much rather been getting ready for opening day which is today…) I think one of the most interesting things that I’m finding in this new role is the consistent sense of restrained enthusiasm on the part of teachers. On the one hand, I think many who see these tools being used immediately get imaginative, creative ideas for their classrooms or their own practice. But there is always, always, always this underlying sense that what comes first is the “what about the test?” question. And it’s totally appropriate in an environment where what’s always in front is AYP and making the various standards that are being imposed. That, and the reality that as much as we are immersed in it, the technology still doesn’t work as easily as paper and pen in most parts of this country.
One other interesting note from yesterday…When I got to the school and ran through my presentation, I found much of what I wanted to show was being filtered. The administrative password got me through to everything but Wikipedia, which was coming up with an “adult and/or pornographic content” label. One of the technology specialists in the district jumped through all sorts of hoops to find out that the filtering service had flipped a wrong switch, and by the time I got to it in my live presentation, it was coming through. But the point was clear, once again. Educators are not in control of these decisions, and, as was expressed to me by another teacher, one of the most frustrating things is not being able to allow sites through the filter “on demand,” instead having to go through all sorts of levels to get things unblocked. I think at Coshocton, at least, they are going to start having some serious conversations about how to make this an education issue and not a technology one. They are talking about having some expansive dialogue which would include the entire school community to find a better way to do this. It will be interesting to see how that goes.
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