I can recall sitting in meetings and trainings where the first norm stated was to put away all technology. This was happening in an environment where we were trying to get teachers to open themselves to the idea of utilizing student devices in class. As annoyed as I was, I found it laughable that we would set expectations for one outcome while communicating another.
Needless to say, most classrooms ended up with signage similar to the one pictured. Why would teachers do any different when in our learning environments, we are held to a lower standard? In a perfect world, all teachers would ignore the static and utilize relevant tools as determined by their instructional needs. Unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect and most, already fearful of the shiny, succumb to the norms that have been established.
The “anti-technology” norm isn’t new at all but is something that schools used to do before establishing that student learning could in fact be enhanced. It’s one of those repetitive actions and what happens is that we get caught in a cycle of doing what we know versus what we need.
The very messages that we are trying to send are blocked by our own fears and kids are being held back in the process.
If you are in the business of training staff, whether you are in edtech or not, stop banning technology. Release your own fears and open yourself to the idea of tasks such as audience interaction, collaboration and back-channeling.
If we want “better” to happen in our classrooms, we have to establish “better” from the top. Remove the signage and show that the tools that have become an anchor in our own lives are relevant to those that we teach.
If not, we are sending mixed signals in a sea of desired innovation which begs the question…
What’s the message again?