Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are Schools Losing the Game... (the power play).

How is your organisation dealing with web2.0?

Thanks to Scott Mcleod's halfbaked musings at dangerously irrelevant, I discovered this post from Wesley Fryer

Schools need to respond to the technological power play

The power play is a hockey term, I'm not sure what we would call it here downunder, but here is the part that stood out to me.
Helping teachers use technology effectively in the classroom means far more than simply providing a technician who can keep computers,
printers, networks, and content filters working appropriately.
Addressing instructional technology support needs also means:
  1. Having administrators who understand the importance of studentsusing technology to not only CONSUME content, but also appropriately PRODUCE and SHARE content on the global stage of the Internet in safe and constructive ways.
  2. Having administrators who expect and require teachers to REGULARLY ENGAGE students in Internet-based collaborative projects throughout the school year, not just at the end of the year when required assessment tests have been completed.
  3. Providing CERTIFIED TEACHERS to serve as mentors, coaches, demonstration teachers, and hand-holders to other teachers less saavy and with less initiative when it comes to instructional technologies.
We need more than technicians providing technical support in our schools, we need leaders and mentors, (and the budgets to fund them). These mentors need to come on top of adequate technical support. According to Wes Fryer again
- school tech support levels are 10% of industry standards (1 onsite tech for 50-70 machines, that is considered adequate in business, where needs tend to be less complex)
Are we wasting money providing more technology to schools, without giving technical support to that same technology, along with supporting the "upskilling" of teachers?

A final point. Wes, when speaking to teachers a a recent conference states:
I heard several teachers relate stories of “technology out of control” in their schools, where part-time teacher-aides (responsible for staffing school computer labs) were unable to prevent students from accessing pornography from school computers, bringing pornography and other objectionable images from home on USB flash drives, and printing many of those images on the school printers.
Probably a common scenario in many schools accross the globe. Another blog I read, Parallel Divergence, raised this issue last October in the post The trouble with web2.

We've all heard the hype on web2, how is your organisation dealing with it?