I recently read a blog post by Mark Gleeson called Can EVERYONE in Education really be “Tech Savvy”? In his post he comes to the conclusion that “We have to take it easy with the technophobes on our staff…. We need to accept that tech is not everyone’s number one priority.” He makes his point about both staff and students.
While I agree that it’s important to recognize that not everyone wants to be a computer/technology expert, I think we should be careful not to excuse people for choosing not to engage in the learning around technology.
Literacy and Numeracy
Nearly everyone I know agrees that literacy (reading and writing, mostly) is essential in our society. If a teacher were to say, “I can’t read,” the public (and other teachers) would be horrified (also incredulous, since that person acquired at least two university degrees in a very traditional education system).
Not everyone agrees about numeracy, though. They do intellectually (including bemoaning the prevalence of calculators), but if that teacher were to say, “I can’t do math,” or, “I have a lot of trouble working with numbers,” the public would be sympathetic. That’s a problem with our culture right now, and historic (and sometimes current) math education is partly to blame. I think we can fix it, but it’s going to take a while.
Are tech skills the new math skills?
I’m concerned that skills with technology are seen as being more like numeracy skills than literacy skills. It seems like it’s permissible to say, “I’m not good with technology,” or, “Computers don’t like me,” even as a teacher.
Excusing a lack of commitment to learning technology is just like excusing a lack of commitment to learning to read. You need these skills. Not developing them will absolutely hurt you professionally and personally. You’ll be able to get by, for now, but I don’t know for how long. Certainly not long at all in this field. Technology (and connectedness) can have tremendous power, and you need to leverage it for you and your students.
Talk with some connected colleagues. I know lots of people who say, “I wasn’t good with computers, but I figured it was too important to ignore. Now I love them.”
Be one of those people.