A Manifesto for Ed Tech Teachers

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I was just in the office of my elementary school. I happened to have my iPad with me (checking Twitter) and the office staff asked to see new pictures of my newborn (she’s super cute). Everyone crowded around the iPad, oohing and aahing, when the clerk mentioned her two year old granddaughter has an iPad. The office staff was amazed¬†that a two year old could use an iPad. I mentioned¬†this YouTube video of a two year old confused by a magazine, but enthralled with an iPad. Shocked, the staff (including my principal) asked for more. I shared a few apps like There’s a Monster at the End of This Book. I could begin to see the gears turning in my principal’s head. And it occurred to me…

Most educators don’t keep up with technology.

As an ed tech teacher, I integrate technology into my classroom regularly. I spend time learning about the latest ed tech tools, and work to build that into my class. I talk to like-minded teachers on Twitter about the latest and greatest. My classroom is constantly evolving.But, this is not how most teachers teach. We, as believers of classroom technology need to do more than just make our classroom amazing. We need to share how we learned about these tools (“Here’s a great resource–I learned about it on Twitter.”), and not just keep it to ourselves. We need to create opportunities to educate administrators about great technologies. We need to not just model technology integration, but be advocates of it.

Non-tech teachers/admins will only used technology when they have to. And most of the required technology stinks. I even complain about using DataDirector, BlackBoard, eCollege, etc. If that’s all they know, it’s no wonder they don’t care about integrating technology into the classroom. There’s this world of great technology they’ve never seen. That’s where we, the ed tech evangelists, come in. Be pro-active, and create opportunities to share exciting tech with those teachers. If they see how amazing this is, they will want to change. Then they will change. And then their students will change, too. And that’s the goal.

Administrators don’t know what they don’t know. I demonstrated a simple app today and jaws dropped. If we simply expose others in education to amazing tools, the culture of schools will begin to change. It’s necessary to share with others that are already passionate about tech, but at some point we need to reach beyond that, or it becomes a feedback loop. Rather than conversations being us-to-us, make it us-to-them. Share with non-tech teachers. Explain it to non-tech teachers. Model it to non-tech teachers. Get out there and evangelize.