“I Don’t Do Technology”

I recently read a post by my friend Christine Hollingsworth that she wrote on the Missouri FCCLA Blog titled “I Don’t Do FCCLA.” I would strongly urge you to read it even if you aren’t a Family & Consumer Sciences teacher.

Christine’s post inspired me to write this spin-off post. I’ve heard some teachers say, “I don’t do technology” or “You can’t integrate technology with the subject I teach.” Do you believe this to be true? Are there disciplines that are more difficult to integrate technology than others? Or could this be simply a cop-out?

I’ve probably said this before, however I find it worth repeating, is that when a teacher wants to begin infusing some technology into their instruction it doesn’t have to be a grandiose part of the lesson or unit. It shouldn’t be an entirely separate day of instruction. When a teacher tries to make it too big, our good friend “Mr. Frustration” usually comes to visit. Start small and have success, then expand further from there.

So what do you think? Are there subject areas that technology can’t be infused? I welcome your comments.


13 Comments on ““I Don’t Do Technology””

  1. Dawn_SmithTCI says:

    I completely agree that tech should be a natural part of the lesson-and I believe it can be infused in any content, at any grade level. Many teachers I have taught with express frustrations about technology because they feel they must do all or nothing. Too many try “nothing” for too long and then the list of the latest gadgets and such piles up, further intimidating them. Today’s students know more about tech than most of us do-and we are therefore obligated as educators to provide them with a 21st Century Classroom.

  2. Thanks for the mention of my blog post. I think you’re right, frustration is such an obstacle. Another of my favorite (said with sarcasm) is the statement “technology is great – when it works.” Not all activities “work” each time we try them, but do we give up on changing all instructional activities because one flopped for some reason or another? I hope not!

    • Kyle Pace says:

      I have heard that same comment many times as well. Many teachers, sadly, do give up if the technology component doesn’t work right the first time. Teachers need to have a strong, continuous support system in place.

      • Totally agree! The biggest part of my job is relationship, trust and confidence building. The reason I work in my school district is because of our consultative model. Team teaching is key. I know we’ve made a shift when a teacher informs me “Oh, by the way, I signed out the laptops on my own the other day, and we used them in our ________ lesson.” Of course, there’s a grin… from both of us.

  3. ktenkely says:

    I can’t think of one discipline that couldn’t include technology integration. It sounds like an excuse to me, “I don’t do technology” means that “I’m not sure how to do technology”. To me, they just haven’t been exposed to the right technology to integrate. Technology integration sometimes takes effort on the part of the teacher to learn more about what it available. I think we owe that to our students.

  4. I think this flags up some the potential barriers to effective teaching and learning. When we think first and foremost of ourselves as teachers of subjects we ask ‘how can this technology help me teach my subject?’, whereas perhaps we should simply ask ‘how can this technology help me to teach?’Or more vitally, ‘how can this technology help my students to learn?’

    If you unpack that last question it focuses attention on ‘what is it that i want my students to learn? And why?’ By asking those two questions you start to get to the heart of the matter, particularly where current technology which allows such easy access to knowledge of facts/content is concerned.

    It might be more helpful to ask ‘if the technology allows students to access learning content and facts, what does that free me up to do as a human?’

    The technology is just a part of the jigsaw puzzle. It’s the big picture on the front of the box that matters most.

    The challenge for school leaders, in particular, is to allow and encourage staff to discover and learn about those technologies in a safe and supportive way. Which kind of sounds like effective teaching and learning, doesn’t it? 🙂

  5. I do think there are certain disciplines where the integration of technology is harder and takes a little more creativity and forethought, not to mention money. Physical education comes to mind. Certainly is it tough to bust out the laptops when learning how to post-up and rebound. But I can see where things like iPods would be great tools to use with physical education. The question would be, what would come first the technology or the teacher buy in? It would be hard for a district to invest in technology without some assurances that it would be used, but it might be hard for certain teachers to envision how to use the technology without having it.

    • P.E. is a tough one! All P.E. teachers that I know say that their primary goal is to get the kids out there moving… and I agree, considering child obesity issues. However, in our school, our P.E. teacher also conducts health lessons. She uses a SmartBoard for an interactive classroom. 🙂

  6. When I have conversations with teachers who say they won’t or can’t I feel like I’m talking to a stubborn student. They know everything they need to know and nothing you can bring to the table is really going to make their work any better. Yes, there might be some areas that tech integration might be a bit tougher than others, but all of the core classes (math, science, social studies, english, arts) should have no problem using tech in the classroom. Heck, even gym classes are coming up with creative ways to use tech in the classroom.

    It’s easier to say I can’t then it is to try and do. Like a teacher would do for a student, you need to show the value of the new tech and impress upon them the value it has for them and the other people (students) around them.

    – @TheNerdyTeacher

  7. I have been an IT teacher for the past 10 years, integrating the IT into whatever the subject teachers are doing. I have been to drama lessons and taught the students how to make movies, I have gone to PE lessons and had the students collect data about their heart rates after doing various activities, which we have then graphed, I have had the music teacher come and help me teach GarageBand. I guess my job is to help the teachers to do whatever they want to do with technology, and for those who don’t really want to use it my job is to open their eyes to the possibilities and nudge them in that direction.

  8. marilyn says:

    The school where I work is technology rich. We have access to a terrific IT specialist. However, I still talk daily with teachers that do not ‘do technology’ beyond using the classroom teacher computer, projector, and the document camera. Students will be distracted, students will surf the web, students will be disruptive, or I don’t have time to learn how to use the program. We need to get through the textbook or I have too much other stuff to do to use technology. I am currently teaching a course at the local university about technology integration in the classroom and about 1/3 of these students also do not think that the use of technology will enhance the classroom. I am surprised by the students and disappointed by the teachers. I recognize that the use of technology does not make a good teacher but I do know that it keeps me organized, lets me communicate with parents, and helps me find new resources. But the best part of using technology is engaging the students to create original and authentic materials to share with each other and others beyond the classroom walls. Are wallwisher, wordle, or photostory better than paper and pencil? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Can students be collaborative without technology? Absolutely, but can it be so much more fun with it. I think so and so do most of my students. I am able to give the TAG students more, I get my special education students to feel like they are the smartest ones in the class, and I am able to get my reluctant learners to participate. I teach science so I do a lot of hands on activities and model building and I judiciously interject the use of technology so that students are constant creators. I also daily use technology to present information to engage the students. I have children in three different schools myself and I want and need their teachers to step up and engage my students and I do not mean just streaming a video or showing a powerpoint. I want future educators to recognize the value of using technology with my students and I want them to engage with me from all corners of the globe.

  9. Todd Wandio says:

    I think the phys ed teacher can even use technology. And the shop teacher. After all, students will need to know design using technology rather than the old pen and ruler method. And the home ec teacher can create demos and lessons using any number of applications.

    I think that what people are really saying when they use the phrase “I don’t do …” is that they are afraid of trying. I don’t blame them. Change is scary. But it is also exhilarating.

  10. I certainly don’t think we should use technology for the sake of using technology, so I try to understand where a teacher is coming from when I hear the “I don’t do technology” statement. I try to pinpoint if the statement is coming from past bad experiences, lack of experience or just no exposure to what’s available. Baby steps… that’s what I encourage. And they do need the support. It can be a tricky balancing act of not being too pushy sometimes. I find when a teacher sees that we’re in this together to meet the educational objective, then the wall comes down, and we can determine what is the most appropriate tool/method to obtain mastery in THIS Century.

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