Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Edutopia - Adopt and Adapt article

At edutopia Marc Prensky does an interesting job of describing the way in which schools typically adopt new technologies. He describes a four step process:

1. Dabbling.
2. Doing old things in old ways.
3. Doing old things in new ways.
4. Doing new things in new ways.

He also makes a strong argument for 1 to 1 computing.

He also speaks of the typical "school resistance to change" issue. I will defer to Larry Cuban on this one. In his classic book, Teachers and Machines, he describes attempts to adopt classroom technologies from educational radio on up. I like his stance that teachers will adopt technologies if it meets certain criteria that make sense. They typically demand ease of use, accessibility, durability etc. The resistance to change may actually be a pragmatic move on the part of professional educators who know what it takes to teach kids in REAL schools. This view better matches the experience I have had with my teaching peers when it comes to innovation adoption.

What do you think? Testing 123 this thing on?

Jim :-)

PS- if you are into ed tech on any level you must get the Postman book.


Doug Belshaw said...

Er... 'Teachers and Machines' is by Larry Cuban...

Jim Forde said...


Thanks Doug.....what would I do without you!

Jim :-)

Jim Forde said...

For those of you who didn't catch my horrific error, I originally wrote Neil Postman instead of Larry Cuban.

Sorry about that....I hope that doesn't ruin the value of the post.

I sometimes get my gurus mixed up.

Luckily I don't get paid top do this, or I'd fire myself.

Jim :-)

Judith Comfort said...

Thanks for your blog. I have enjoyed sculking around the fringes. But I am finally inspired to comment (I am a teacher-librarian in a high school). While I agree that teachers are conservative by nature; they are also pragmatic. Here in Canada we have not had federal government initiatives throwing millions at schools, buying the stuff first and then trying to justify the purchase paedogogically later. Prensky's laptop-in-every-lap refrain makes me think he's being paid off by someone with a huge profit motive. Doesn't he know about the practicalities of the classroom? ( kids drop stuff, ghosting wireless stuff is a nightmare, not to mention..dealing with fragmented brains along with the machinery.) Teachers also need heated classrooms and novels and toilet paper at school. I think all we really need for a 21st century classroom is a powerful computer and digital projector on the teacher's desk. And maybe a few powerful labs for doing real learning with simulations or database research. The rest is cream. He is right - the kids are way ahead of us technically - all the more reason to let them do their digital fiddling on their own time, not in their laps at school.

I think that "information literacy" goals have to established before we spend another cent on machines that are outdated before a semster is over.

And no, I am NOT a luddite. Check out my latest blog on this subject.

Jim Forde said...

Hi Judith,

I share your spirit on this. I don't think your are a luddite. I think you are an experienced teacher/librarian who is willing to look beyond the marketing and focus on what matters most.

Thank goodness for professionals like you who are willing to engage in this important conversation.

What scares me more than anything is the "tail wagging the dog" phenomenon that currently exists in some school districts.

Thanks for posting!

Jim Forde :-)

ps- I am heading over to your blog after this posting! :-)