Questions than Answers Regarding Teaching and Technology
do electronic football, a Japanese teenager and a first year teacher
have in common? Professor Allen D. Glenn did great impressions
of all three during his lecture, “Technology and Teacher Educators.”
speech was part of the culminating event of NetTech-Making
Technology Work in our Schools: A Forum for Education Leaders
and Decision Makers. The Conference was held recently at The
Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
If educators came looking for ways to integrate technology and
teacher education, Glenn did not provide them. Instead, the Dean
Emeritus and University of Washington College of Education Professor
doled out questions for deans, professors and administrators.
you ask the wrong question the right answer won’t help,” Glenn
said, then laughed, “actually, I did that on my dissertation.”
Allen D. Glenn began his career teaching at a public junior high
school in Kansas. During the 70s he saw how computers allowed
for engaging simulations of real life problems in his social studies
classroom. He was hooked. Since then he has earned his Ph.D. in
education and focused much of his research on the use of technology
to instruct students. He has served on several educational technology
panels for the U.S. Office of Education and co-authored “Restructuring
Schools with Technology.”
According to Glenn, there are many questions that educational
leaders need to ask themselves about the use of technology in
teacher education programs. There are questions about personal
skills like, “what messages are being sent via my office about
the use of technology?” Then there are questions about resources;
“what is being spent to support technology in the unit?” There
are questions about hiring new faculty; “what funds are available
to provide new technologies for new faculty?” The list goes on.
In an energetic lecture that was part scholarly and part stand
up comedy, Glenn covered three main areas: technology today, technology
and teacher education and the future, albeit in general terms.
democratization of technology has happened,” Glenn declared when
he spoke about technology today. As an example he cited Japan
jokingly, “It is now a law in Japan you have to have a cell phone,
you have to have it on and you have to use it with two thumbs
to send messages.”
He also pointed out one of the main differences between educators
and students when it comes to technology. Professors and teachers
remember a time before the Internet, whereas students don’t. “Kids
believe high tech is now my tech,” he said.
Pre-service teachers are also better prepared to use technology
as a part of instruction. “Teachers are better, they’re smarter,
they can do more,” Glenn said.
Glenn ended the “Technology Today” part of his lecture by telling
the audience that if they want to know where technology is going
all they need to do is look at a Playstation. “Remember the first
electronic football game?” he asked, then made beeping noises
and moved like a robot across the stage. “We thought that was
cool. Now you can see the expressions on players’ faces.”
When it comes to technology and teacher education, Glenn says
it is no longer just the hardware that’s important but the leadership.
Although he admits to hating the word “vision” he also says there
is something powerful about it. Educational leaders need to define
their vision about technology’s role in the department before
allocating resources, hiring new faculty or implementing change.
It is also important to have staff that can maintain the infrastructure.
“You better have someone who says ‘you can’t plug that into that,
if you do that you’re going to die.’”
Glenn insists that tomorrow’s professors will have new skills
and will need to think about classroom instruction in new ways.
The teacher will not only pose questions, he will also be a co-learner
in his classroom as more students have advanced technology skills.
The role of information technology (IT) is also changing. Right
now IT is best at providing access to information, but Glenn says
the emergence of high speed Internet is increasing the possibilities
for educators. Kids can now come together from distant regions
to create collaborative projects.
Educators must ensure government policy makers that technology
is more than hardware and gimmicks, Glenn says. For that to happen
the work of educators and its impact needs to be documented.
only choice we face is who will shape this new education environment
and who will profit from it,” he said. And he left the audience
with one final question. “Who better than us?”#
D. Glenn can be reached at Miller Hall, Box 353600, Seattle WA
98195, 206-221-4790, firstname.lastname@example.org
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