I just overheard two teachers discussing a lesson one of them taught today. Her students are researching endangered animals and she is having them do their research independently (they are fifth graders). Ahead of time she set up a list of bookmarks for them on the server so that they had approved websites, including search engines, to get started.
This morning she got one cart of laptops from nearby and another cart from the second floor of our other building, not an easy job, so that each student would have a computer. Then, during the lesson, she showed them how to log onto the server to access the bookmarks. Only about five of the students were able to get logged in. For some reason, the other fifteen or so were locked out. She got them started on another website, but found the experience very frustrating, especially after so carefully setting up bookmarks. (As an aside, I've shown her del.icio.us for future use.)
I know that many educators, parents, and others are frustrated by how little many teachers use technology in their classrooms. I know that I don't use nearly as much as I should. I also know that my school district has done a pretty good job of supporting teachers with this. Each elementary school has a technology specialist full time who is there to support the use of technology in the classrooms. Each school also has another tech person a couple of days a week to do the troubleshooting and to fix problems. However, our full time person often gets stuck fixing things around the building because he's here more often. He's done a ton to offer workshops before and after school to help teachers and he's willing to work with anyone who asks. But most teachers don't. They have a lot on their plates already. I'm not sure how we move forward here. I'm about as open to using technology as possible and I read plenty to keep me up to date with the options for web 2.0 tools, but I still can't pull off what I think I should be doing. How do we manage to support teachers in a way that really helps them integrate this? What's the first step?