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Are Teachers the New Illiterate?

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I have been trying to write this blog for several weeks now. It is intended to be a follow up to my last post asking educators if we are speaking the same language as our students. The more and more I follow other educators on twitter, the more I see we are writing the same posts, having the same discussions on #edchat and #educoach, and starting discussions on our own trying to find a solution to the same problems across the globe. We are continuously talking about the elephant in the room and collaborating great ideas on how to move forward, but has anything really been done? Has anyone came up with a good plan to get teachers to stop teaching twentieth century practices to a class of twenty-first century learners? And has anyone put anything into practice that requires teachers to take ownership of their own professional development and join sites such as Twitter or Google+ to actively participate in a world of educators who want to promote global learning?
Those of us that have adopted this new and exciting world of Google+, Twitter, and other Professional Development forums have realized the importance of integrating technology in the classroom and into our own professional lives as a commitment to life long learning. But how many of us teach next door to a teacher who has never heard of a hash tag? Or a hangout? Or even a bookmark site like Diigo or Instapaper? How many connected teachers mention the application Delicious and other teachers ask if it is a free online cookbook?
Of course, administration is going to have to be the initiative, but in many schools it is the administrators that are the problem. I am lucky. I teach in a school that encourages me to be creative. I have an administrator that wants technology in the classroom and encourages sites like Twitter for professional development. Even with my administration on board, there are still teachers who only use their computer for email and grade book which is district mandated. These teachers feel that since they were never taught how to use new technology, they are not accountable for teaching it to themselves or to students in the classroom.
The digital world is creating a whole new definition of illiteracy. Are these teachers going to be considered illiterate? Should the definition of illiteracy include not being able to understand # and @ symbols? Should there be high stakes for teachers who do not upgrade to a new teaching model?
This commercial below is my all time favorite. It was an ad Wal-Mart put out this Halloween. After watching it several times I realized that it is not just children who feel they are not accountable for the things they aren’t taught, but also some of the educators that teach them.


About Anne Beck

A Middle School teacher disguising as an Ed Tech professional in Higher Education. My thoughts and posts are my own. Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid -Albert Einstein


9 thoughts on “Are Teachers the New Illiterate?

  1. Nicely written Anne. I think alongside admin teachers themselves are going to have to take the initiative lead and motivate and inspire their colleagues. IMHO I see nothing wrong with this and sure there will be those who dismiss and are offended but ultimately they themselves are going to e those who are left to fend for themselves in their own archaic jungle. Additionally, administrators must take the risks involved and set the stage, expectations and standards that they
    It’s take ownership as well for their own staff development and professional growth…

    Posted by Bill | November 17, 2011, 11:18 pm
    • Yes!! I believe that it’s teacher’s responsibility also. Administration cannot be afraid of learning from their staff, I know mine isn’t. Teachers that are not connected sit and listen to the conversations of those of us in twitter every night with a bewildered look on their faces. I think curiosity will be what will eventually get them online. Hmmm, next blog topic?! “A secret club that doesn’t have to be secret”

      Posted by Anne Beck | November 18, 2011, 1:44 am
  2. Great blog, raising issues all schools are dealing with. Thanks.

    Posted by Mark Flynn | November 17, 2011, 11:20 pm
  3. Good thoughts here. I feel like a minority in my building because I am the only one on twitter. I should be in the majority. It would be much easier for me to expand my PLN if I could talk about it with the educators that I see everyday.

    Posted by Jeremy Evans | November 19, 2011, 2:20 pm
    • I am also the minority in my building but I have an administrator that is on board. He is the one that introduced me to my wonderful PLN. Even though you are not connecting with you immediate staff, YET, you are connecting with a world of educators!! That’s what has been the most beneficial for me! Good luck transformed your staff. They will come around!!!

      Posted by Anne Beck | November 19, 2011, 4:06 pm
  4. Great job Anne

    Posted by Becky | November 24, 2011, 3:10 pm
  5. There was a marvelous column in the Guardian that echoed your thoughts:

    I think this problem only gets solved when parents realize it’s a problem, and start to pressure schools. For now, most parents WANT their kids educated the way the parents were educated.

    Posted by Mark Moran | December 19, 2011, 4:46 am
    • It’s funny you said that about parents. I have a parent that is also a teacher in my building. He doesn’t agree that we have to integrate technology. His basis is exactly what you said and thinks I am setting my kid’s up to fail. Thanks for the link. Great article!!

      Posted by Anne Beck | December 19, 2011, 10:24 pm

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