Guest Blog (We are in Charge Now!) – The Secret to Better Technology in Schools.

If You Need Technology Workshops for Your Teachers... You Need RecessTec.After editing 200 blogs of PrincipalsPage ramblings, I have decided that the Wife/Mother-In-Law Team needs a chance to speak. I mean come on…
Don’t I get a reward for constantly correcting semicolons and the incorrect use of to, too, and two?

Honestly, how can a man rise from coach/teacher to administrator in a few short years with only one opinion on the use of the English language?
I quote, “The semi-colon is by far the coolest of all punctuation!”
I mean seriously, who ranks punctuation by coolness?
Note from PrincipalsPage:
(I do not apologize for my love of the semi-colon… and I might add… I am a huge fan of the asterisk***)

Of course, we shouldn’t judge. One of us married him.

So, with that being said…

We present Recess TEC as the first official “Guest bloggers“.
(Note from PrincipalsPage… quite possibly the last

In the struggle between the TECH GEEKS VS. THE SUITS, another adversary needs to be included.
This adversary could be the one to bring peace to the land…
with an “and they all lived happily ever after” ending.
This adversary is (insert drum roll and “dah-da da da”)…

We would define “The Suits” as (in some cases add “dearly beloved, but ignorant of all things technology”) the administration.
We would define “Tech Geeks” as the teachers and students who want to include technology in the curriculum, use as much technology as possible in their everyday lives,
and see it as a highly motivating factor to enhance teaching and learning.

Enter the IT. “Dr. No” if you will.
(Notice, we did not say “Dr. Evil”.)
IT’s #1 priority is to keep the server alive and well to handle the administration’s email.
Priority #2 is to NOT lose any file stored there.
And finally, #3 – NO VIRUS…EVER!

Nobody and nothing is allowed to slow down the server.
Don’t even get us started on bandwidth.

Anything Google slows it down.
Anything Skype slows it down.
Anything that involves long distance collaboration slows it down.
Anything that includes the word “streaming” slows it down.

We believe that the more things slowing it down, the more the students benefit…which in turn means the server space and bandwidth needs to be “supersized”.
We know…now we are talking money.
We would be willing to give up the chalk and dry eraser marker budget in exchange for a little more server space.
Anyone else?

Things we hear from the IT:

“Google Earth? You don’t need it. You have maps.”
“SmartBoards? Why? You have white-boards and all you will use it for is to show movies on a big screen.”
“ (Add indignant tone.) The teacher’s desk is the first place we see it. You can’t control what is being played…a song with inappropriate content might pop-up.”
“I don’t want my teachers to have wikis/blogs/podcasts/webpages (insert any other web 2.0 tool here) because I can’t control the content.”
“It slows down the bandwidth.”
“It takes up server space.”

Enter “Recess TEC” to the rescue.
Now it is time to bring to reality “Why can’t we just all get along?”
Pull up a chair and sit down. (Coffee, anyone?)
We need all of you in the same room together. (Even if it means providing chocolate or a continental breakfast or a steak dinner with mixed cocktails ;) )
Possibly even a few tech-geeky students. (“Ixnay on the ixedmay ocktailscay…”)

It is time to watch, listen, and talk.

Google everything.

And SMARTBoards in every single classroom.
YES! Even the music and art rooms!

And tons of bandwidth.
And HUGE servers.

And finally.
Teach the teachers.
Let them do what they have been trained to do.
Teach them to teach with technology.
And let them be the filters and decide what is best for their students and their curriculum.
Help them understand that technology is not an addition to the curriculum.
It is not the time to take the students to the lab where their students log on, work individually on a website, while teachers grade papers.
Teach teachers to integrate, collaborate, and to become proactive.
After all,
that is what they were hired to do in the first place.
and finally,
trust them.
Trust them to do no harm.

Which means…

No Internet Filters on computers when TEACHERS are logged in. That’s right. No filters.

Teachers are the BEST filters (if they are engaged with students… which means stand up and walk around the room).
And if they prove NOT TO BE…
then slam that filter right back into place.
Abuse it = lose it.
Show teachers how to use sites like Flickr and You Tube SAFELY.
We are not saying, turn the kids loose on whatever site they want.
We want to protect kids, but we also want to motivate and engage them!

Communication together is the key to solving all of these issues.
We need to be in the same room to see what is out there and how it best can be used.
And it should never be Suits Vs. Geeks.
Let’s work together and put the puzzle together piece by piece.
Let the teachers show the IT department (especially the ones that may have never taught) HOW the technology is being used in the classroom.
Let the IT department show the teachers why things are structured as they are.
Most teachers know very little behind what it takes to do your job.

The dialogue should include,
“We didn’t know you wanted that.”
“I can do that for you.”
“I didn’t know that was out there.”
“Will you help me with that?”



And finally, show by example.

(Recess TEC is also known as Recess Web Design…but doing more and more Technology Educational Consulting and less and less Web Design.)

**Note: This blog was collaborated over a 60 mile distance and written using Google Docs without filters.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.