I received an email from an Elementary Education major at Mississippi Valley State University. She had a class assignment to contact at least two individuals who are in a technology leadership position and interview them via e-mail regarding three main issues. Now I don’t know about a technology leadership position but apparently some elementary education majors are reading blogs and I think that’s a great thing. I really had to struggle to answer the questions.I thought I’d share my answers with you and invite input on what you think. That would be a good post to share with the student and each other. I’ve asked her to share other answers she receives, if that’s possible. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. What are the largest problems that you face in technology integrations?

The largest problem that we face in technology implementations is our outmoded paradigm of education. Traditional models of education are built around the teacher being the expert and the one that dispenses knowledge to students. Curriculum is delivered mainly through the lecture mode. We are teaching from textbooks that in many cases are outdated as they go to print. This has to change before technology can realize its promise. The fact that we are networked and connected to virtually all the written knowledge in the world and have it available in our classrooms and homes requires that we embrace and define a new definition of literacy in our digital age. We have to understand how to use it in our schools. The traditional teaching model must be revamped where the lecture mode is not predominant and critical thinking and application is the desired outcome, not regurgitation of facts. Educators need to be involved in designing this kind of learning. We need to work with colleagues, both in our school buildings and beyond. We need chances to learn from one another’s successes and failures and to share ideas and knowledge worldwide. Students need the same opportunities for learning through these connections. How we access, use, and communicate information is changing daily. We have to be stakeholders in that learning process.

Another major problem is our current high stakes testing requirements that are the main basis, really the only basis, currently for evaluation of learning and teaching. Teachers will never be motivated to embrace technology if their evaluation is based on test results that don≠t give any value on how to access, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize vast quantities of information. Yet, these literacy skills are the very ones we need to be teaching and learning in this informational age. An outdated educational system and a method of evaluation that promotes the continuation of that system haveto be changed before technology can ever begin to realize its potential.

In addition, the limited staff development available in schools has focused on the computer, not technology≠s role in learning and teaching. We do not have the support systems in place for educators to begin reconceptualizing their role to enable learning with the aid of technology. There is no priority in place to provide teachers the time to develop an understanding of how technology can transform the way we teach and learn.

2. How important is planning the overall picture of the environment in which they operate?

Learning can occur in every environment but what is important is that access is available for all. Being literate requires being part of the network.

3. What is the single best piece of advice you could me and others who are trying to provide leadership for teachnology use?

First and foremost, provide good models of actual use of technology with students. Be a part of the online community. Join in on the conversations. Keep your eye on creating a vision for education that will work for the new literacies we must achieve for the 21st century.

I would invite you to create a blog and begin discussing some of the questions you asked. Blog about what answers you received. Get in on the conversations about learning and technology. Read other educational blogs and respond to them. Share what you are learning. Share your thinking. Be open to the ideas and thoughts from others. We have to collaborate
and share so we can create learning environments that are meaningful to students and us. I can tell you that I have learned more from blogging than any other professional development I have had. Be in control of your own learning and then mirror that to your students.