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Why are teachers scared of technology?

faviconToday, I went back to school for professional development.

It was great to see my colleagues again, but I have to say, I wasn’t looking forward to hearing them yell, “My computer’s not hooked up!”

Yes, this happens every year. The custodians wax the floors during the summer, which means the computers get moved, wires get mixed up, and teachers go a little crazy.

Because our school is small, and because we don’t have a full-time tech person, I’m the guy who ends up trying to allay my colleagues’ fears.

But I just don’t get it. Most of my colleagues are in their 20s and 30s, live in the Bay area, change their Facebook statuses regularly, and use their iPhone to text their students. Can’t they hook up a desktop computer?

Apparently, not all of them can. There’s a difference between using a computer and setting one up, and hardware gets adults nervous. In fact, last year, I did a workshop called “Computer Troubleshooting 101.” It was fun seeing how my colleagues interacted with the machines. It reminded me of the time in second grade when I inadvertently pressed the Break button on the school’s Apple IIe and thought I had destroyed the computer.

Another problem is that technology is still not an integral part of the classroom. It doesn’t help that we just got rid of our Pentium IIs. Students still use pencils and markers, and teachers get praise when they assign a PowerPoint project.

So it’s going to take a while. It reminds me that focusing on getting the students excited about technology won’t do it all. We have to have teachers willing to try, too. Wish me luck on my presentation next Monday, when I challenge my colleagues to do at least one project this year that involves technology. Is it possible? I hope so. favicon

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