Saturday, October 26, 2013

Raise both bars, bottom and top

Takeaway: It's 2013. An educator saying they don't want to use technology because they don't like it or aren't familiar or comfortable with it is a cop out. Basic technology tools have been around so long there is no excuse for not using them. With CCSS & PARCC students are held to tech-specific standards and expectations. Educators should not be allowed to avoid those some expectations. It sets a bad example and is a detriment to our students

It is 2013. 

The arguments "I don't like computers" or "not everyone like to use computers"are invalid.

I will grant you not everyone "likes" using technology, but the idea that it is ok to use "not liking" technology as an excuse for avoidance is dangerous. Would we allow a student to ignore proper spelling because they don't like it or they are more comfortable with inventive spelling? Of course not. The same should be with technology.

Just as we focus on struggling students in an effort to raise them up, improve their learning and understanding, shouldn't we do the same with the adults in the building? It should not be ok to let an adult ignore, or not communicate via, email if we are trying to raise the achievement of every student. Are we not concerned with the achievement of the adults in the building? If a few students preferred inventive spelling are we going to permit spelling errors to be an acceptable measure of writing school-wide?

It's 2013. Should we only focus on the tech savvy adults? Are we only trying the raise the bar of the high-level teachers?  What is going to happen when the CCSS & PARCC testing comes around? Will only the tech savvy teachers need to worry about it? Of course not.

If we don't push those at the bottom of the technology ladder to move up the gap between the users and non-users will only grow wider. The disparity of knowledge & comfort between those two groups will only become more overwhelming.

I'm not saying every teacher has to blog or tweet, but the argument "we need to print paper memos because not everyone likes email" is dangerous and the antithesis of what we do as educators. Is there any other profession, or role, in 2013 were an employee can say "don't bother emailing me, I don't like email so I don't check it" and get away with it? Of course not. Would you let a 4th grader get away with inventive spelling because they don't like spelling correctly?

It's 2013. People bank online. Shop online. Have some form of social media account (even if it's just Facebook to look at pictures of grandkids).  Email has been around since the 1990s. Email is so old & common it's almost antiquated. To be an educator and say you don't check your email is a disservice not only to yourself, but to the students in your building. How can we raise the instructional bar for students if we don't raise the knowledge bar for ourselves?

Your highest level will only get so high and your overall achievement will only go so far if you never bring the bottom up. Allowing the educators at the bottom of the tech ladder to stay there is a detriment to them and school communities as a whole...

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