Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The fear of (perceived) change

This year the staff at my school will take a huge shift towards using digital technology in the classroom. Despite being a high decile school, the technology being used (or should I say not used) is dated and dying (literally, like one netbook a week dies). Teachers use the existing technology for mainly accessing the internet for student research. There has been some use of forums (third space) to help create an audience but only 1 or 2 teachers still continuing with this.

As you can see, the term e-learning is slightly dangerous, unknown, threatening and scary for some.

It was evident in a discussion yesterday as part of a session I ran, that some teachers thought they they would have to change their practice and their beliefs in order to have digital technology in the classroom. I had to reiterate that with such strong pedagogy underpinning everything at our school why would this change? They say that successful integration of digital technology requires a sound pedagogy. But does it have to be an e-learning pedagogy? Can it just be pedagogy? Can it just be about learning?

Yes!

Digital technology enhances our teaching and creates multiple possibilities for communication and connectivity. However that is also how the world operates now. It would be archaic to keep doing what we've always been doing and not keep up with the rest of the world. Ultimately it has to come down to what dispositions we want our learners to have. The ones that resound with me the most are Resourceful, Resilient, Creative and Persistent. I'd probably chuck Playful in their too. Digital technology opens up possibilities to develop these dispositions in a real world context. A real world context because the reality is that most students will start school knowing more about iPads than their teachers, are exposed to digital technology everywhere they go. It is their world.

So coming back to the fear of change... perhaps taking the e out of e-learning makes it less threatening and allows teachers to build on their teaching philosophy rather than destroying it? So that they see the change as a natural progression because isn't that what technology is?

The times are a changing