So as I transition from one job to another, and actually have time with the summer months to realize I have been integrating Information Technology in an international school setting for 10 years or should I say trying to…. I step aside and take pause of the whole process. It is funny how much lip service, studies, research, and talk has surrounded this area over the years. The general final audit if you would want to call it is a very mixed bag, depending who you are or what you are pushing.
The bottom line is that integration was going to happen one way or another through osmosis. The world around us is digital, we the consumer have been seduced daily with new methodologies. Do you remember the first time an ATM showed up? Remember the first phone card? Remember the first computer you worked on? Generally we don’t, it somehow shows up in many ways and we make do.
So why have schools and educators spent so much time focusing and talking about Integrating Information Technology? Do the kids really do better, do schools really end up better off with its use and integration… yes and no.
I think sometimes as Information Technology Specialists we have been our worst enemies. We have tended to try to push the importance of the issue, and provided a forum where it has developed into a critical need for students to succeed in the digital age. Fair enough we have a responsibility to keep up and make sure our kids are equipped with the right skills and tools to succeed in their world. But too often it has been presented in ways that has teachers pull back. It too often becomes a add on, and not an enhancement. Let us be honest, kids today once they get a cell phone, a computer, game boy, Xbox will work it out, test it, push the limits, and create short cuts and an alternative methodology that fits their parameters….it is not about integrating technology it about being able to think with out a box, not outside the box.
So are we heading to the end of information technology integration and the demise of the information technology specialist… NO.!! It is maybe time we re-examine the approach, goals and outcomes in a different context. Maybe our job is to be more invisible, more subliminal, focus not on what we think is right, or what we think is important. It is more of a case of being there as a gentle coach, a sounding board, a seducer of the potential and possibilities of the digital world.
You and I know we are all busy as International School teachers, and Information Technology will always and is always in competition with 100’s of other important agendas, focuses, visions, goals and ideas. Maybe if we pulled ourselves away from that list, and through back doors made our agenda visible? Maybe it is not about what information technology can or should do for teachers, but more how teachers, when they see fit feel it is time to use it? Maybe it is about the little group of kids not in the box, working on the outside? Maybe it is about the reality of the world being digital and the tools and methodologies of our day to day becoming our vehicle? Let the students drive the need? Let the world around us seep in, and then use it to facilitate of the potential and possibilities of the digital world.
A thought… as another hot muggy day sets it soul to rest and I grab a cold drink and realize the summer break should be something that happens everyday in a teachers life… even if for just an hour or evening….