I just read a post from Learning is Messy Blog that echos my thoughts since delivering a mini workshop on blogs last week. The Learning is Messy blog post is titled “Working, Breathing, Reproducable, Intriguing Models.
I encourage you to read it as he (Brian Crosby is a sixth grade teacher at Agnes Risley School in Sparks, Nevada) expresses his difficulties and frustrations in trying to “Tell the New Story“. After reading his post, I realized my expectations are a bit too high of advanced learners (teachers) as I expected a far larger turnout for my presentation. In any case, his post adds some pepper to my tale.
My workshop was sponsored by the Literacy Committee in my school. The coordinator sees the value and importance of blogs and blogging so she kindly invited me to present. Thanks again Lynn. Despite my surprise at the low turnout, I benefited from this opportunity.
In a nut shell, the workshop was great for me and I think the 4 teachers (staff complement of about 120) who attended, enjoyed it as well. I was able to walk people through the key points in my outline and encouraged them to return to review the presentation outline at their leisure. My main goal was to help them create their own blog on edublogs.org. This we accomplished and now they can explore, learn and create along with the rest of us.
You can review my outline and related resources at this link. In the chatting time before starting the presentation, there was mention about teachers who planned to come but were super stressed about getting their marks entered into the Board grade marking software.
I can appreciate the teacher’s anxiety over dealing with unfamiliar software and deadlines and that my presentation just wasn’t a priority. This is not the first time I heard that other priorities got in the way of learning how to use new technologies. Part of me understands completely, yet at times I sense more a resistance to try something new rather than the “other priorities” explanation. I suppose it is normal human behavior to resist breaking out of old patterns and thought structures. I am left feeling that for many teachers, these new technologies really don’t mean much to me, my job (is learning a job?) or add value to my teaching – so why bother. My take is that social software and networking tools like blogs are a pervasive aspect of our community and business world today. Change is here, it will not reverse itself and in the classroom it’s time to recognize these new priorities.
On the plus side, I am enthusiastically engaging teachers about blogs (and Web 2.0 software) and having some success. My one hope is that “Something in the Air” element that Gardner Campbell so elequently describes, settles over my neck of the woods and more learners take a deep breath and smell the coffee. It’s time.
P.S. I do like the blues music, hence my title