Friday, May 22, 2009

Black Briefcase, a school psychologist's blog..."I didn't know there were people in the building (school) who didn't know how to turn on the computer"

The Black Briefcase blog is written by a school psychologist who writes about "true tales from a School Psychologist. An ongoing monologue about the state of education and what's really happening inside our schools."

I especially liked this post:

Land of the Luddites

"Maybe Luddite is too strong of a word. Technologically naive seems more appropriate. I've been on a crusade to get people in my school to embrace basic technology: email, web-based programs, word processing programs, i.e., nothing fancy. As I've been trying to educate others I've noticed the different levels of technology naivete that people have in my building. My district, like many others in the nation, has moved towards using a web-based program for writing IEPs. The problem has been that only two people out of 6 are comfortable enough with the program to complete an IEP. Everyone else has expressed their trepidation towards using the computer. One of the drawbacks is that the entry fields do not appear as they do within an IEP so that those who are used to completing them by hand do not know what they are looking at on the computer...." -Black Briefcase

This sounds a lot like the EasyIEP program that was adopted by my school district this year! It doesn't map to the real world, and for teachers who aren't used to doing more than sending e-mail, the application can be quite daunting.

Black Briefcase goes on to provide a couple of examples that shed light on why technology is lagging in many many classrooms:

"The last week, I've experienced two different eye-opening moments on the vast technological divide that exists in my school. Those on the inexperienced end amaze me. I was asked by a co-worker how to attach a file to an email. I thought that was the lowest, but that was beaten the next day. I was sitting in my office when I got an internal call from another room. A teacher was on the other line and she asked me if I had turned off the computer when I used it in the lab. I used the lab when I taught my coworkers how to use the web-based program last week. I guess I turn off the computer out of habit; I was finished using it so it seemed like the thing to do. I didn't know that there were people in the building that didn't know how to turn on the computer. So I figured it must have been something complex. I went to the lab to see what was wrong. The LCD projector was working so that was one less problem to deal with, but the screen was black. I thought that maybe something was unplugged and when I looked at the computer, I realized that it wasn't on. I pressed the button on the CPU and the computer sprang to life. It couldn't have been that easy, I figured that I would have to do something more than that. Well it appeared that the teacher was pressing the wrong button. Instead of the on/off switch she was pressing the button that opens the CPU. If you're familiar with old Dell computers then you know what I'm talking about. She was pressing the wrong button and couldn't understand why it wouldn't turn on. That was a new one for me. I thought I had seen it all until that moment.
" -Black Briefcase

One of Black Briefcase's solutions to address the "luddite" phenomenon is to share tech tips from David Pogue's New York Times blog post. That is a great idea!

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