One of my strongest memories from student teaching (22 years ago) is sitting in the faculty meeting when the principal was telling teachers that they were going to be adding 5 computer stations to each classroom the following year. Teachers were appalled! "Why would we need computers in the classroom?" they complained. I remember sitting there quietly (like a good student teacher), wondering how they couldn't be excited at the idea. Times have sure changed...or have they?
Yes, we have computers in our classrooms, and our teachers probably can't imagine life without them at this point. Now, however, we are moving to a 1:1 environment, and the general resistance is still there. Not only do some teachers wonder why every student needs a device, parents and other community members are wondering too.
For those of us who can't fathom NOT wanting to bring technology in whenever possible, it's important to take a step back and see things from a digital immigrant's point of view, and communicate three important concepts:
1. I think the strongest argument for technology is the world we live in. If our goal is to prepare students for the real world, we have to expose them to the tools that they will be expected to use when they get there. These days most people assume that others have a basic understanding of how technology works...copy/paste, web searching, download/upload, etc. Although many of our students are very comfortable navigating a program, even a new one, other students are not. We have to give them exposure to technology to help close that gap. It is important to show stakeholders ways in which our students will be expected to use technology when they leave our corporation so they can see the importance of us stressing it now.
2. Another point we need to make is that in our days of information overload, there is no way for the teacher to be "all-knowing" as they were assumed to be in the past. If we want our students to have the most current information possible, then they need to be connected.
3. Last, but certainly not least, we need to assure stakeholders that we are aware of some of the dangers out there, but like every other danger in society, we can't stop living because of a "what if." Instead, it is our goal to educate teachers, students, and parents on the issues relating to digital citizenship, and give everyone the tools necessary to navigate technology safely.
Getting stakeholders on board with technology is not always as easy as one might think. Some people feel that as soon as you unwrap the shiny, new devices, people will be hooked; however, that is often not the case. We need to share with parents and other stakeholders what our mission actually is and how we plan to get there, safely, with our students.