Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Technology Adoption in B Flat

Have you sat down in someone's car with music playing that you've never heard? Or maybe bought new music from an artist you like? At first, the response can be tepid. But after you listen a little while to it, the music begins to take shape and grow on you. And before you know it, you are singing along anticipating tempos, beats, choruses, and harmonies...even if a little out of tune as I do. I think technology adoption for teachers is a bit the same.

I think in our preparations for technology inservicing, the fabric of the technology tools - web 2.0 tools or otherwise - becomes so ingrained into our thoughts and beliefs. We study software, perhaps prepare a slide presentation, a wiki, or blog, or do some reading. We think about the myriad curricular connections these tools can make and possibly (and hopefully) effective teaching strategies for adoption. By the time we get to the inservice, we know the technology inside and out that we've just spent time mastering...we believe in it.

But what about the teachers who are learning about these tools for the very first time? And not only learning how to work the software but also thinking connections to curriculum and teaching?

They're just hearing "this music" for the very first time without the luxury of the back or repeat button (if your like me trying to analyze a song). The song like technology, possibly a little rough sounding at first, may not have a chance to develop personal resonance. And a personal resonance, or ownership, I think, has to be present for sustained technology adoption. That is why I think time, coaching, and support are so crucial to technology adoption.

A b-side song that I've come to love doesn't always equate to a smash hit for others (mentioned from my experience). The same holds true for technological tools. Not every teacher will see the value in the tool. That is why I've come to like the cafeteria-plan style inservice. If I present 10 web 2.0 tools to teachers in a cafeteria-style inservice, they have choices. And I think choices are important since teachers are consumers of technology who make choices about the technology they adopt. As I have written previously, these choices are often rooted in their beliefs of teaching and learning.

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