I read a couple of blog posts and newspaper articles over the Christmas and New Year period about the developing use of ICT in Scottish schools. These pieces bothered me at the time, not because I disagreed with the views expressed (although I did), but because I found myself disturbed by the mindset that generated them.
Basically, they were written by people who have, for no discernable reason that I can glean, appointed themselves as the guardians of all that is good in the use of technology in teaching and learning. What is ‘good’, of course, in this context, is whatever they have decided is ‘good’. What is ‘bad’ is anything that they have determined does not fit with their world-view, a world-view that seems to shift and shimmer with the passing of each tech-fad or techno-fancy.
Such people are, in my opinion, selfish.
Why? Because they are more concerned with displaying their own advanced thinking, their own leading-edge practice (self-defined, of course) — and they seem entirely unconcerned with the needs of their colleagues who (in their own terms, again) trail behind them. Grandstanding must do something for their self-regard, I suppose, but it achieves precisely nothing for all those teachers who still lack confidence in the use of ICT in their classrooms, or who, genuinely, question the efficacy of bringing technology into the classroom at all, or who need to see and hear examples of good practice that is not dogmatic about platforms or proprietory labels or the myriad ‘isms’ that inhabit this space.
I do not believe that such grandstanding achieves anything for Scottish education (or for education generally, since such behaviour is by no means restricted to our own shores). I do believe that those who are genuinely working to help doubtful, tentative and uninformed colleagues across the country become familiar with just a few examples of good practice in the use of ICT in the classroom are to be admired and supported. Only they have our wider interests at heart.