Monthly Archives: April 2010

Culture or Skills?

Recently I have had the pleasure of attending presentations by Dr. Anthony Muhammad and Joellen Killion. A common theme in these was the issue of school culture.

This got me thinking – is the use of technology in schools a cultural thing or a ‘skills’ thing? If there is a culture in the school where technology is under-utilized, does that manifest and lead to less and less use? Do you need people to be modelling and ‘pushing’ the use of technology in our instruction? What are the reasons for people not utilizing technology? Is it an issue of skills and training or are other factors at play?

I once worked in a school with only one smartboard. I made it a priority to find out how to book my time with this, where it was stored, who was allowed to move it etc. Initially I was told not to bother – “that is her smartboard”. Then I was told that I would have to deal with a difficult member of staff if I ever wanted access to the equipment. It soon became clear that no one else in the school, other than the guardian of the board, used technology. Further, none were interested. They were actually happy to have a convenient excuse.

Sure enough, my attempts to use the board were met with resistance. I persisted. Then a funny thing happened – more and more people started using the board. My observation that the skills were not in the building were way off the mark – the truth was there were cultural issues preventing their ability to display these skills.

As I look ahead to taking on a fresh position and challenge in September, this is an issue at the forefront of my mind. Are we making enough use of the resources we have? If not, why? It is all too easy to point to a lack of skills, but often time the truth may be a lot less palatable.

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A New Blog…

Technorati reported that 120,000 blogs were created per day in 2007. I can only imagine that number has risen since. When I think back to 2007, I was responsible for a few of those. One on fantasy baseball, one on soccer (notice a theme?) and others to support my work in the classroom. None of these live on today, for one reason or another (seriously, how much can an Englishman know about baseball?). However, as I embark on my latest blogging effort (and my first with WordPress – thanks for the advice, Doug!) it is with the intent of creating something interesting, resourceful and, hopefully, with a little more stamina than previous incarnations.

Having lived in (and actually enjoyed) the isolation and loneliness of my job as an Instructional Coach, I am preparing to move into a more ‘public’ position. This requires (and inspires) a more ‘public’ persona. I have lived for a year in a job surrounded by theory and problem solving, and have spent a disproportionate amount of time reading. A return to writing, and hoping to interest and inspire an audience, is a refreshing change of direction.

So, how was that for a start? Next entry will contain less brackets!