Why "anti-tech" teachers irk me

**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**

A guest post by Lisa Mims

The conversation went something like this:

Teacher: Do you know he suggested using Tagxedo at Reading Night?
Me: What a wonderful idea!
Teacher: I don’t see why they want to use technology. (said with disdain)
Me: Why not? The kids and parents would have a good time.
Teacher: What if it doesn’t work? What if it doesn’t print? Then what are we supposed to do?
Me: What do you mean doesn’t work? It’s really easy to use.
And the conversation continued...

“Technology” is not something you can pick up or put down, it’s not a solid object. That is what frustrates me so much about people who are “anti-tech”. It makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs every time someone says to me, “See, I used the Smartboard today, I used technology.”

Or, after typing an entire paragraph on a web page, it’s deleted, and the person yells, “See, that’s why I don’t use technology!”

Technology is not a subject!!!  It is a tool that is not going away. It’s not something extra that you add to a lesson, it’s just part of your lesson. You know, the way you use the textbook. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the question, “What if it doesn’t work?” So does that mean that we shouldn’t use it? What isn’t going to work? The Internet? The computers? Tagxedo?

Yes, there is a chance any one of those things might not work, but there is a greater chance they might. And what an experience that would be for those who use it! It reminds me of when my principal, who asked us to think outside of the box after a tech conference, asked me to put my Sliderocket presentation on a flash drive because the “Internet” might not work that day.The “Internet” worked just fine.

When I was thinking of a way for my kids to creatively describe themselves, I chose Tagxedo as a way to do that. While planning my lesson, I did not begin with, “How can I use Tagxedo today?” When I want to connect with students in another state or country, I use WallwisherEdmodoTwitter, etc… because it’s a way to connect beside pen and paper.  When I want my students to share their thoughts simultaneously about the novel I am reading aloud, “Today’s Meet” is a wonderful tool. And, I don’t only use the Smartboard during observations, just to prove that I am using “technology”, because that’s what “they” want to see.

All the wonderful things I do with my class is not done to “show off”. It’s because it engages my students and makes teaching enjoyable. And yes, I do have a life. There are so many great ideas I get from so many different people in my PLN, so there’s no need to spend every waking hour trying to find them on my own.

We have to let go of this fear of the unknown , the fear of change. We have to remember that we should be lifelong learners, and not be scared to share our knowledge, even in a way that might not be comfortable for us!

This post originally appeared on Diary of a Public School Teacher, and was republished with permission.

Read all of our posts about EdTech and Innovation by clicking here. 


Diary of a Public School Teacher is a blog where Lisa Mims shares her  thoughts about any aspect of the teaching profession. She is a DEN (Discovery Education Network) STAR Educator! She loves writing and I has contributed posts to Free Technology for Teachers, Edudemic, TeachHub, GoAnimate, Edutopia, etc.

4 Replies to “Why "anti-tech" teachers irk me”

  1. The irony of it all, is that we tell our students to keep trying until they get something right and to not be afraid of failure. We tell them that practice makes perfect. We tell them that they have to get used to learning new things, all the time, and that change is a good thing… But then a teacher gets a new tool or is asked to use Google Drive and they freak out! All the expectations we have of our students, apparently, don’t apply to us. That thinking is not only hypocritical, it hurts our students. Please stop hurting our students. Don’t ask of them what you won’t do yourself.

  2. Well stated, GABY R. I was the Computer Coordinator of a Connecticut school district in the 1980’s. I worked hard at trying to disseminate the need to embrace technology in K-12 education. I offered training and even wrote a monthly newsletter. I often felt I was swimming up stream. Some said that tech is just another fad. Others simply avoided it, including some in high positions. A number of educators learned some tech and refused to move beyond that level. I soon realized that the selection of hardware and software was more about what the teacher and administrator were most comfortable with – not what was best for the student. Ultimately, I resigned and went on to teach at the college level. I hope the newer crop of K-12 educators will remedy this situation. I hope they arrive with the attitude that “Learning is the experience of a lifetime.”

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