Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

 

(or why the Head of [ insert faculty] is going to my hit me in the back of the head)

I have been prepping recently for my first every presentation at a conference. I have been lucky enough or maybe crazy enough to be giving a presentation at Digicon 2017 (http://digicon.vic.edu.au/).  It seemed like a good idea at the time (still does, just with a lot more trepidation and anxiousness), but I thought it would be fun to share with my colleagues, what I am doing with ICT at my school. Thus I came up with this (caution, self-promotion in hyperlink below);

BUILDING ICT TEACHING CAPACITY FOR THE VICTORIAN DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES CURRICULUM

At Mooroolbark College, when the new Victorian Curriculum in Digital Technologies, was introduced we realized that there were two major hurdles to overcome. Firstly, a knowledge gap in terms of coding/programming; the 7-10 curriculum is based on students having completed the F-6 curriculum, which won’t happen for the next 3-5 years effectively. Secondly, where are we going to get ICT teachers from, that can teach this curriculum? This presentation is about one school’s solution to this dilemma; how we are training teachers to code so they can teach year 7s and 8s confidently and effectively, so they are curriculum ready by year 9.  This is my and Mooroolbark College’s story about this so far, and hopefully a forum to share our experiences with others.

http://digicon.vic.edu.au/sessions/building-ict-teaching-capacity-for-the-victorian-digital-technologies-curriculum/

I wanted to call my presentation “Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks” but was told that, despite being funny, it is not professional to ever refer to colleagues, even metaphorically or as an idiom, as “Old Dogs”, even if I love dogs. Despite this, the name still lives in my head, and now due to this blog, on the internet. LOL.

A week of holidays has passed, and I will admit that I am nowhere near ready yet. I have put in a few hours of work and thought on this, but I am struggling finding the words. My principal recently told me that sometimes, when it comes to ICT, be it pedagogy or teacher practise, people have trouble getting their heads around the concepts or ideas that I am trying to explain.

She advised me, that it is not that I speak to fast or use too technical language, it is that they (those who I explaining too) often don’t have the ICT knowledge or experience to put things into a context where the ideas make sense. The whole “context” thing is a new challenge for me. I guess being at the bottom of the change pile not the agent of change that I have become (not my words, but I will steal them Rach!) has given me a tendency to forget that not everyone has the same context when it comes to ICT in education. This contextual difference, is what has me stuck at the moment.

The idea of context is why I think, that metaphorically speaking, another Faculty Head is going to hit me in the back of the head. In all honesty, I work with a great team of Faculty Heads and I respect them all. They are fantastic people and great educators, without exception. But change is something that most teachers seemed to be a little bit hesitant with, especially when it comes to technology in the classroom. As I wrote this last sentence, I gained some clarity on the idea of context!

My context, is quite different to most of the people I work with. I am into Computers and Technology. They have always been something I have enjoyed, something that I have dabbled in. I am a geek and proud of it. I also find computers and software something extremely easy to learn and incorporate into everything I do; I look for digital solutions as a first stop to problems. I happily will spend hours “playing” with a piece of software or hardware. I haven’t read a physical book in a really long time, unless I was given it as a paperback. Every book I have bought for myself since the first Kobo reader came out, has been digital. Outside of ABC kids TV (I have a 4 year old son) and the occasional News, I stream about 95% of my media consumption. Coding is not mystical or magical, it just part of technology. My phone is used more for emails, messaging, forums and social media, than it is for phone calls. I have a relationship with technology, that has integrated it into almost every aspect of my life. In writing, this I have realized that I don’t differentiate technology from the analog; it is all a tool that I use with ease.

And it is not this way for many of the people I work with.

I guess I have some thinking to do now.

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