Our school launched a 1:1 laptop initiative last year, so we are in year two of having every student have the choice to have a laptop. In our district, you hear a lot about laptop usage. My response to all of the teachers that morning was that not having laptops out was fine we would just be moving between rooms getting pictures of what was happening in the moment. To be honest, the last thing I wanted was to bring the photographer into rooms where students were just using computers. I dream of the day that the focus is not on the device but on the learning and that the device is just somewhere in the room to give the students access to information that they need to move through their learning or a means to create a product to show what they have learned. What did we see that day as we moved through the campus? We saw students molding clay into busts, we saw students harvesting grass samples on a roof and measuring growth, we saw some students sitting and taking notes, we saw other students lighting heat sources to begin experiments, and we saw students spread out sitting in stairways practicing their guitars.
The activities of the morning left me to reflect on the pressure that exists on teachers today to integrate and use technology. Admittedly, I am one of those people who when given a task immediately thinks about how can I make the task easier or faster with technology. I am just wired that way. As the 1:1 initiative was launched on our campus last year leadership embraced it as a tool and did not in any way issue broad expectations of what it should look like within every classroom. My perception has always been that there is room for growth and integration and that teachers will begin to substitute tech tools in place of traditional methods out of convenience and improved functionality and then move towards redesigning where their students can actually go and eventually having their students create products and complete tasks that were inconceivable in traditional classrooms. I believe many teachers feel that they should be there now and struggle with knowing it is possible but do not have the time, guidance and security net they need for failure to have their classrooms get to this point. The reality is that I could have walked back into any of those learning environments on another day and seen technology in use in ways that show how far we have moved forward in a year. I realized that morning that the expectation that devices be out and present has created an unseen additional pressure for classroom teachers.