Splat! That was me hitting the wall on Friday night. Hubby and I were having our normal Friday night supper with my school friends. The H.O.T.’s (husbands of teachers) were sitting at their end of the table discussing important stuff (I think I heard North Carolina and Kentucky basketball) and the teachers were at the other end.
One the teachers asked me to help him with the difference between blogs and wikis. He had attended both of my workshops, but ‘just couldn’t get it’ – his words, not mine. Well, the conversation from that point went from bad to worse. When I tried to give him another explanation, the other teachers started talking about wikis and blogs and how they weren’t impressed. Keep in mind, at this point it’s 4 against 1 in the web 2.0 debate. The more I tried to share the importance, the more they shot me down. I was so disappointed by the time we left.
The reasoning behind my disappointment lies in the fact that one of the teachers there is one I hold in very high regard. She is not only the most intelligent person I’ve ever known, but also the best Language Arts/Social Studies teacher I know. I just couldn’t sell her on the idea of student blogs.
I think that having language arts classes write compositions in a blog is a wonderful idea. They could comment on each other’s blogs. Great way to build a montage of writings. But, I’m going to have to come up with a new sales pitch because what I’m doing now isn’t quite working.
She is working on a couple of wikis, though. The first one we did was about the civil rights movement. She had initially typed out several pages of information to hand out to her students. I suggested, why not put it on wiki and let the students add any new information they discover? Well, that worked great and she’s thinking of doing more projects that way. She has a ton of information with some great links. I look forward to her next wiki.
The teacher who couldn’t understand the difference between a wiki and a blog, was adamantly opposed to letting kids have the power to change/add information to something for which he was responsible. I tried to explain that that was the beauty of the wiki. Kid’s take authorship very seriously, and yes, there may be a few bad apples in the bunch that will enter inappropriate or bad information, but the majority won’t. Do you think we should ban all music because some artists produce inappropriate material? Nope, no sell.
The assistant principal that was with us said the point that stunned me more than any other in the conversation. He made the comment that “this wiki and blog stuff is just another phase and will be gone soon.” Oh my, I was speechless. How do you respond? I have to admit, I now have several comebacks, but at the time, I sat there with my jaw on the floor. Hindsight is always 20/20 isn’t it?
The fourth of our ensemble was a parent (we taught her son last year) and works at the school. She didn’t have much to say other than she didn’t understand “blogs and wikis and all that stuff.” But, she said she had read my blog and was impressed that I had taken so much time to share what I have learned with other teachers. Now, that’s a positive step!
I wanted to burst out and explain to these educators that we must change our teaching or our kids are going to be left behind. I daily read many, many blogs on education – the last count was near 200 – and I can see where the web2.0 is taking so many innovative teachers. I think of everything I would do differently in my own classroom if I were still there. Wow! The opportunities for our kids are endless! We just have to open the door and let the dogs out. So to speak. Kids are so much more advanced than we adults.
One of the teachers on Friday night suggested that many people are simplifying their cell phones because they don’t need or know how to use all the extra gadgets. She equated that to the new technologies I’ve been introducing to them. Too much “stuff”. I’m sure that many people are simplifying their cell phones, but I would almost bet a paycheck none of them are under 30. As for the new technologies, I’ve tried to spread out the workshops I’ve done and explained to the teachers they can come to as many or as few as they desire. Wide open to their interest and comfort level.
So, how did the night end? Amicably. We are all friends and know we can disagree and still remain so. Isn’t that the beauty of true friendship? But, hubby sure did get an earful on the way home.
As soon as I could get to my laptop, I emailed my other friend, Kim, who is also a new ITF. She and I share very similar thoughts on web2.0. I can express my frustrations and celebrations with her and she understands. Long story short, she responded to my email and completely agreed with me. She said she had decided to focus on the teachers who were willing to try new ideas. Gotta love her! I think I’ll do the same.
Not all the teachers in my three schools are opposed to the new technology. There are some very good beginning wikis. Judy, Gregg, and Teri are doing an awesome job! If you can, take a minute and check out their wikis. Three completely different uses of wikis, but all really good starts. It amazes me that they all only recently learned about wikis. I can’t wait for their next projects.
So, I appeal to you, whomever you are that might be reading this dissertation, to give me ideas and thoughts to share with the teachers that prefer not to jump onto the bandwagon of the 21st century.
I feel like I’m taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back.
Until next time ~ Danita
Flickr: Step by Step