I attended an ICT Curriculum Review meeting today. There were a number of teachers from local primary (elementary) schools. We were looking at Control Technology.
The teachers brought in Beebots and even a flying object worked from an iPad. I was partnered with a teacher who had a fascinating resource called Logiblocs. We spent a really interesting hour looking at ways that she could make effective use of this resource in her school.
I started by saying that the different objects should be played with by her children… they should explore their use and make them work for themselves.
She showed me a lot of cards that came with the set and asked me what I should do with them. I said that she could give them to the children to assist their thinking after they had developed their knowledge and skills in using the resource. She seemed somewhat agitated by my answer. “What am I supposed to teach them?”
I stated that she did not need to “teach them” but to question them and interact with them. That they may very well teach her!
At our coffee break there was an interesting discussion when one of the teachers said that she was frightened by the technology and felt that many of her fellow teachers were too. She said that the kids seemed fearless in exploring things like Logiblocs but she felt that she had to know more than they did.
I was unsurprised at hearing this. A few months ago I wrote a blog about the fear factor of teachers in relation to the use of social media (particularly Twitter) and here it was again, the fear factor..this time in relation to control technology.
The teacher I was working with got quite excited when I took the pressure off of her because she did not want to spend hours trying to play with the blocs and trying to read all the material so as she could “pretend” to be smarter than her kids. She started to get ideas for using other aspects of I.C.T. to record and review what was being done.. she thought of videoing sessions, photographing the pieces for insertion into written reports which could be shared in a class blog. She was open to ideas from one of the ICT Consultants there to get the older children to coach the younger children and even for the school to work on Logiblocs with another school in the town or maybe in another town (or country).
I am only too aware that the problem we have with getting a more effective use of ICT in schools is overcoming the “fear factor” that many of the teachers have in relation to ICT use and the idea they have that they somehow have to be an “expert” in a world where new ideas and developments seem to happen every day.
There needs to be a sea change in views… let the teachers enjoy the experience of learning with their students and empower their students to “teach” them. Don’t fear the technology but try and live with it and learn with it. This has to be the way forward and is indeed the way that I see in the best examples both here in the U.K. and in schools abroad.
Fight the fear factor… bring on the learning revolution!