As I mentioned a few days ago I have been reading David Warlick’s book Raw Materials for the Mind. Having been a “technocentric” educator for the past 13 years much of Mr. Warlick’s information is review for me (I can always use a good review!); nevertheless, this is an excellent text for those who are getting in on the technology integration process in their classrooms. David surveys various web tools in a systematic process that enables the reader to utilize the vast resources found on the Internet in an easy to follow manner. I highly recommend this book to teachers that want to increase their technology “toolkit” as it is literally an “owner’s manual” and “how to guide” on web utilization. Administrators, instructional technology directors, and department heads would be wise to digest and pass on the information found within.

Now, this begs the question, why are so many educators not utilizing technology and the Internet to supplement and diversify their classrooms? With texts like Warlick’s Raw Materials for the Mind and so many other resources, it seems, from my observations, that many are only scraping the surface of these powerful tools. Innovation is obviously carried out via diffusion, and as I spend my days I see technology incoporated and integrated into almost every aspect of human life in the developed world. American education seems so far behind as an institution when it comes to the rest of daily life. Granted, there are examples of technology use in schools today, but it does not exist in a seamless fashion. Technology in education is almost a novelty or something to “do” separately rather than “be” natural to a certain extent.

I believe that things are changing, but the diffusion process in schools is tortoise like. Levels of use seem to hang at the awareness level but can’t seem to overcome some huge barrier that prevents extended, deeper utilization. In part, I think there is some resistance based on fear, but there are so many new teachers entering the workforce that I would think we would see a large upturn in technology use. I think that it is a matter of a lack of support and training in school districts today that serves as a major stumbling block in this dilemma. Not enough central office administrators recognize the need for a knowlegeable instructional technology support staff that can diffuse technology integration via professional development by training, assisting, encouraging, and nuturing educator’s technology use and integration. District office personnel see the need for information technology support staff that administer networks or repair hardware, but these important service people often do not have the experience, training, or skills to transfer the application of this “heartware” into a classrom setting. The heart is maintained, but the rest of the body doesn’t seem as active as it could or should be! I think a few districts are starting to figure this out, but they seem few and far between at this point in time.

Do you agree, and if so how do we change this?

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