Today I designed a lesson for AP Biology where students would review ‘biomolecules’ by designing an 8+ cell cartoon using the website www.toonlet.com. 15 laptops and a wireless access point later the students were all up and running. Enthusiasm, check, defined goal for lesson, check, necessary hardware, check, network backbone, uncheck. No matter how well you design a lesson with technology as a key component if the site doesn’t load or the computers don’t boot up before the last bell rings you are hooped.
Districts that tout the glory of 21st Century Learning and Technology Integration need not worry about getting teachers on board. The champions exist and will carry the torch if they are supported. If the reliability of the network is in question even the champion will become reluctant to take the risk. Districts and governments need to walk the walk if they insist on talking the talk. Funding and training are the two necessary components to ensure grassroots adoption of new technologies and an integrated approach to teaching. When top-down initiatives without the necessary supports are mandated or dictated the resistance and skepticism becomes the main obstacle to its successful adoption. ‘Build it and they will come.’