I have had the chance to make six formal presentation on implementing Classroom 2.0 tools (wikis, blogs, podcasts). I have had countless individual conversations with parents, teachers, business people, and complete strangers at parties. Can you guess the one group of people who seem to have the least amount of interest? Teachers. Parents and business people (obviously for the most part they are one in the same) seem to be just as excited as I am about implementing these technologies in the classroom…but not teachers. I spent a lot of time this summer on how to present classroom 2.0 tools to teachers and could not find that magic answer. I did just hear an interesting quote on a podcast:
“It must start with the individual. In order for people to use web 2.0 technology they can’t start in the classroom. Forget about the classroom. If you try to teach people how to use blogs, and they don’t understand how to use blogs or how to use wikis or how to use podcasts in their own personal lives, if they do not understand how these technologies change who they are as a learner and how they go about educating themselves and being a member of our society, then trying to get them to do it in real time in front of twenty-five kids with all the technology issues and support issues that are going on is a bar we will not get under.”
I wonder if any presentations I do in the future for teachers should skip the connection to the classroom and just focus on a personal use of these tools. At this point I do not understand why educators do not keep up to date with changes in educational practices like a doctor would. Can you imagine going to a doctor that practiced medicine just as they did twenty years ago? As my knowledge and usage of the tools increases, and I become more intensely focused on using them to help kids develop 21st Century skills, I question whether my ability to communicate with teachers on the importance of classroom 2.0 skills has actually decreased. Please send me the secret answer. All classroom should look like the one in the picture above.