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.

Posted on April 30, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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