Week 2: When “Secondary Criteria” trumps “Primary” when implementing educational technologies

One thing that I have noticed now that I am one-third through my Masters, is that I enjoy the week’s readings more when they take me a long time to read due to long pauses devoted to thinking about what I do in my own classroom. Thankfully, this happened as I read this week’s article, ““Educational Technologies: A Classification and Evaluation”” (Nel, Dryer, and Carstens, 2010)!

A huge technology stumbling block in my school has been having access to reliable wi-fi.  Some days, I can not even show a video from YouTube, because of the length of time to buffer.  If all of my students attempt to access the wi-fi at once, the system becomes a constipated mess and nobody gets anywhere. In my classroom, I can not even use the data plan on my phone, due to extremely poor reception.  In addition, most teachers do not have all of their students with their own device.  Although 2/3 to 4/5 of a class may have a smart phone, every student obviously needs to be able to access the app, the LMS, the websites, etc. Sadly, costs, access and operability issues seem to prevent most teachers at my school from wanting to spend their free time designing “new school, pedagogical practices.”

Despite these challenges, my Principal has begun a new initiative this year, in the spirit of collaboration, leading to more progressive learning practices. In exchange of having a “lieu day” on our May Pro-D, interested teachers are meeting for a couple of hours over four Fridays, after school. These days are called “Collaboration Fridays” in which we are actually spending time sharing our ideas and developing pedagogy.  Naturally, I gravitated to a group of other “tech-minded” teachers!  I am presently working with two other teachers who are interested in student blogging. The other technology group has decided to figure out “Google Classroom” (as this is the direction our district is moving towards).

A factor that seems to be missing from the list of Secondary Criteria (p.247) needed for successful implementation of educational technologies would be time.  With larger class sizes, and classes with diverse learning needs, educators have very little time to redesign their courses. In BC, our curriculum has just undergone a major revision in which many units have migrated into other grades. Teachers are going to be spending an enormous amount of time simply learning their new curricula– asking them to concurrently change their entire approach to teaching, may be asking too much, at least for right now.

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