Sunday, January 10, 2010

K12Online Conference and EdTechTalk

While perusing the archives of the K12 Online Conference website and investigating the tracks from past conferences, I happened upon one 2006 video on Overcoming Obstacles. This PowerPoint presentation described one teacher's journey to a computer lab of 20 functioning computers.

This video was both encouraging and frustrating for me. While it explained familiar challenges, in terms of lack of functional equipment, it didn't explain why she wanted the computer lab, or what her plans were for the new setup. It was encouraging because it explained how she happened to create her own computer lab. She utilized a number of familiar resources and techniques, which made me feel like I could perhaps embark on a similar venture.

As I felt that I wanted more information on this topic, which is important to me, I turned to EdTechTalk. I found a Conversation, #57, that was held on December 19, 2009 about the "Haves and Have Nots of Education and Technology." After about 7 minutes of personal banter about their families, and another 7 minutes of moderately (but not completely) professional stories about technological experiences, the group FINALLY addressed the topic of their conversation. Once they got the the point, they had some moderately good things to say. They indicated that technology (like an iPod) is another tool that can be used in the classroom, like a sharpened pencil. They also identified the crucial nature of administrative support as it relates to the integration of particular aspects of technology in schools. It also seemed to imply that more technologically active administrators may be more supportive of teachers using more technology. After 20 minutes, one of the commentators indicated that in districts with limited technological resources, teachers need to find funding to procure computers for their classrooms. This discussion identified the lack of choice that many teachers and students have when considering integrating a computer into the learning experience.

This last chat is part of the reason that technology can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a benefit. It took this group nearly 15 minutes (1/4 of their broadcast) to get to the point! As is often the case with a information on the Internet, there is a lot of fluff that surrounds valid information. With this ETT conversation, I was so frustrated after listening to nearly 15 minutes of ridiculous banter that I wasn't as receptive to the viewpoints that were conveyed. This could easily be the case with a lot of efforts surrounding technology in learning, and careful attention must be paid so that time and resources are efficiently utilized.

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