Monday, July 30, 2012

Transforming teaching and attitudes

*This is also cross posted at
as part of the Back to School Ed Tech series.

Sometimes those of us in the ed tech community tend to think about transformative education coming from the top, those schools with 1:1 or BYOD programs already in place. However, this year as I collaborated with several schools through professional learning classes and seminars, I realized transformation can occur even in the beginning stages of incorporating technology.
There are vast differences that still exist between schools in the area of educational technology. I've worked with schools ready to implement 1:1 with a clear vision and plan for the future and other schools whose vision was less clear due to monetary restrictions or other hindrances. Despite the disparity, there are similarities between the groups. What is best for the student is still of utmost importance. It's the main reason most of us chose this profession, we care! Most teachers realize we are in the 21st century and our pedagogy should revolve around skills such as Conversation, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.
What stood out to me most though were the attitudes before and after the introduction of new tools . Both groups had teachers totally on board with technology, ready to grow and also a group of resistors, stuck in the 20th century and hesitant to change. However, once the web tools were demonstrated as a way to help the teachers, most realized the potential to bring about better engagement with their students.
Whether it was in a technology rich environment with Smart Boards and wireless or a school with one computer in each classroom, the reaction was the same, "show us more." We can't believe how easy this is." Web tools such as blogs, wikis or even something like Screencast-O-Matic or Prezi produced excitement for transforming not only their classroom culture but also their attitudes towards better 21st century methods.
An elementary teacher from a school with limited technology resources, loved that a blog could help her facilitate communication with her parents. An English teacher from the same school, saw wikis as a way to enhance collaboration among her students. On the other end of the spectrum, History teachers from a school initiating a 1:1 program in 2013, were excited to learn about about Google docs and forms as a way of creating student writing portfolios and moving from teacher centered to a student centered classroom..

These teachers are beginning the process of changing their attitudes and moving their classrooms into the 21st century. The journey of transforming teaching is a process and there will be more challenges in the future. These teachers are part of my PLN now and I look forward to supporting them as they begin to realign their teaching strategies. The transformation won't occur immediately, once school begins "life comes at you fast" but if we continue to collaborate, the classroom culture will be transformed.

Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose