October 31

Our E-learning meeting: Attitudes to technology

We had our E-learning co-ordinator come out from the big bosses today. Lovely guy, quite knowledgeable on the e-learning stuff. Like the old one, he was also good about acknowledging other people’s work publically, which I see as a sign of good leadership.

What I thought was quite funny though, was the meeting with one of our co-ordinators, who obviously thought that the meeting was a waste of time, in his arrogance, tone and body language. E-learning guy talked about wikis, and the other guy asked “I’ve seen wikis before, and really…I haven’t seen anything useful for them in the classroom”.

Fair enough.

E-learning guy: Well, you could construct a collaborative essay response, so that each student built on an answer to an essay, until you had an exemplar.

Me: I use it for collaborative summaries, where each student gets a section of the topic they need to summarise and post.  I know you do this in the classroom already, Co-ordinator guy, is just an easier way to do it.

Co-ord guy: So what you’re telling me is that I can more easily do it on paper with better learning?

Me: Well, I use wikis, becuase it means that the better kids can also build and comment on the weaker sections, without targeting particular students.

Learning MeetingHis attitude after that totally changed. He crossed his arms across his chest, and steadfastly refused to be involved. It was funny to me, because while E-learning guy was presenting stuff that would still centre classroom focus around the teacher, he was fine, but when it was more student centred, he put his hands up and went “Bad Learning!” and “Hard”.

I consider him a good teacher too, so it was a funny thing for me to observe. How do we react to these sorts of attitudes?

Image from Flickr/ Creative Commons

Attribution: http://flickr.com/photos/maebmij/

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Posted October 31, 2008 by shortcomp in category integration, PEEL, Uncategorized

2 thoughts on “Our E-learning meeting: Attitudes to technology

  1. Threebee

    Unfortunately, this seems to be a really common response to ict in my experience. I believe that it is related to the way individuals perceive change as either a threat or a challenge. That seems a simple enough explanation, with enough truth to satisfy pop psychology, but how do we get around it? Particularly when it is people in decision making and administrative roles that consider student directed learning a threat? They seem to be in the majority, and have the ability to put in place systems (like internet whitelisting) that can actively prevent the rest of us giving it a go. With a colleague you could work on skill development and building self confidence to increase their receptiveness to new ideas, but how do you do this further up the chain?

  2. Shane

    Kelly,

    Its unfortunate but I don’t see this attitude as an uncommon one. Some teachers (who may seem effective at getting the exam results) teach strongly though a power relationship where the student does not contribute significantly to the class learning. I experience these type of teachers often when I conduct professional development sessions. I question that exam results is an indicator of a good teacher.

    I have had some luck changing the perception of these teachers by showing them (one on one) how ICT tools and the transfer of power in the learning relationship can actually increase engagement with the material, expand teaching opportunities by providing skills that can be transferred across curriculum areas, and enahce results. I personally am a big fan of wikis and collaborative work. In my experience the strong students don’t suffer, and the weaker students improve.

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