10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 24, 2010 7:29 AM by NaomiHarm

    Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?


      It has been great to hear everyone's successful and happy-go-lucky stories about the Intel Teach trainings, but what happens when a training bombs, and the instructor feels he/she has not a made a difference, all because the attendees "don't get it and their technology skills sets are so poor?"   Yes this happened to me last week.  I think I also cried all the way home, and kept beating my self up and asking how can there be so many educators in a designated area that are highly lacking computer 101 skills and have no clue about technology integration.  I was so frustrated and exhausted from the 8 hour training, that I actually questioned my professional training and delivery skills, and asked myself what I am doing in education, and should I be pursuing a different line of work.  Yes, it was that bad!


      There are definitely concentrated pockets throughout the USA that the educators do not have a clue of how to use a computer effectively, how to search the Internet effectively, and how to create a tech infused lesson to motivate and engage students.  In these same areas, the free and reduced lunch rates are sky rocket high.  The Midwest area I work with range from 43%-78% of the poverty level.  I really feel Intel Education needs to create an Intel Teach Elements 101 or introductory course to have in place to get these educators up to speed.  It would also assist us as ST's and MT's to meet the needs of our educator learners/participants to customize their training to their technology literacy level, and at the same time stress the importance of technology literacy skill set development for all educators.


      On another note, I presented a SMART Board workshop at the state convention this weekend, and 6 of the attendees did not know how to turn on the laptops that they brought with them from their school districts, 8 of the educators asked me what a "browser was'" and struggled to navigate through Internet windows, and 4 educators did not want to use the computer at all- and just sit and watch, because they "do not and will not use a computer in their classroom,"  :-(  Now the word of the day was uuuggggggg!  The remaining ten educators consisted of 4 pre-service teachers and 6 educators that just received a SMART Board in their classroom, and were genuinely excited to be there.  To conclude- differentiation was the word of the day and I brought out my "patience bag" from my student teaching kindergarten era and proceeded to dip into it several times per hour for the entire day.


      We say our kids are slipping through the cracks, when in all actuality our educators are slipping through the cracks at the same time.  There needs to be a solution of an introductory level course to assist these high need educators.  What is your solution to make a difference with the many issues I have posed above?


      Stressed out in WI,



        • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

          Naomi - I don't think that you are the first trainer to experience frustration in a training. I hope that others will share their tips for success or lessons learned.  With that said I have a few ideas of my own that have helped me in the past.

          • create shorter training sessions - sometimes the length of the training can be overwhelming to some participants especially if they are learning a new skill set
          • create time between training - allow and encourage experimentation between training so they can build their confidence - although this is a tough one - especially if districts are paying for subs or presenters are traveling a long distance.
          • send pre-work or at least of checklist of what participants should experience before the training so they are more comfortable during the training
          • have a support facilitator - such as a district or building support person to address participants that don't want to be there - is this tied into district or state goals


          What other ideas and suggestions are out there?

            • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

              Hi Julia- appreciate your feedback but this is bigger issue than you may realize. I posted this question for a particular reason- and as you see no one else has touched it or even addressed the question.  It is more than a "difficult training issue."   We have a huge deficient in the Midwest and other places in the USA where there is no Internet connectivity or dial up is just being introduced.  Computers in the school systems are ranging from 12- 15 years old or limited or no existence- this is true- I have lived it and I have breathed it.


              Julia your suggestions are wonderful- I have done all of those and there is no difference being made, especially when you have a co-facilitator.  I have been a professional trainer 15 years and have pulled every tip and trip out of my bag- I am tired of hand-holding and spoon feeding.  I truly believe that there are a few individuals that will never change, even though I have tried to influence them every way I can.  The technology gap will get bigger---guaranteed.  So the question is.....how can Intel Education assist reluctant and technology challenged educators get up to speed with integrating technology successfully into their K-16 curriculum?



                • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                  Wow! It is completely unreal (well, actually very real in this case) that such areas still exist in the US. I am curious...how often do our trainers experience this type of situation? Is the area in which Naomi is working the last area in the US that is still in the technology dark ages?

                  • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                    Naomi - I agree that this is an issue that people aren't running to with suggestions.  Personally I think that the answer is beyond training and has to do with education reform and teacher expectations.  I hope that the Leadership Forums are addressing these issues - getting support from the leadership is definitely a step in the right direction.


                    Many people are reluctant to change - and I see that as an issue.  I think that if new educators are coming in with the skill set they need to support technology in the classroom and that those skills are updated - then eventually the gap will close.  I also think that parents help close the gap - I remember when I had my first web page to share class events and projects with my students and parents - the following year the whole team I taught with had their own web page.  When those students moved on to 7th grade and the teacher's there didn't have web pages the parents said something to the administration.  Now it is a requirement at that school that all teachers have a web page for upcoming assignments and class happenings.  Some are better than others but everyone had to get a page up because that was an expectation that our community had.


                    Reluctant teachers need to think creatively.  Encourage them to find student helpers - or tech experts in their classrooms - there are many students that are willing to help if given the chance - but the teacher has to be willing to learn from their students.


                    Again- this is not an easy question and I do not think that there is an easy answer.

                • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                  Hey Naomi,


                  I understand your frustration.  I think a lot of it began, when years ago, technology equipment was given to the districts with no guidance as to how to use it in the classroom or as a management tool.  Our students today are from "Generation M' (Media) which makes technology very important in the education process.


                  I somewhat have the opposite issue from you.  I have many districts that are high need as well as those that are not.  I find that the high need schools are ahead in technology integration because they are receiving the funds to include technology into the classrooms and the ones that are not high need do not have the funds to purchase the new technologies.


                  With the fast pace growth of technology, we are going to experience those that are integrating technology effectively and those that are FOF (Fear of Failure). Providing baby steps for those will encourage and promote a positive experience for all.


                  ........and yes, we have all been there and felt that way before.

                  • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                    Hi Naomi:


                    I cannot imagine a place where all the teachers are tech savvy and ready to jump right into any training like the Intel courses. We have all had rough training sessions though--and not just in Intel trainings! The things I try to go into any training with are that the teachers (or administrators or whoever) need to know what I have to give to them and should enjoy it, which gives me a positive feeling, and also that the training is their first or near-first experience with the topic, so I should try not to have high expectations for anything except how well I can deliver the training: if I can't make it crystal clear then i need to assess what I am not doing right and revamp. If their skills are not up to standard, then I lower the bar since we all have to start somewhere and need positive reinforcement all along the way.


                    Dont' beat yourself up though since that accomplishes nothing but only depresses you as you state. Instead, look at the many positives you accomplished! You can be certain that more people learned something new, cool, and helpful than not. Someone famous once said some like this: It's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. It works for me.



                    • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                      Reading through this thread was disheartening, but not surprising, I'm afraid. I only have one suggestion to add to all the great replies, and that is, find success in small steps. The Intel Teach materials require big changes for most teachers, and not just in the use of technology. Some teachers will pick up small ideas without making any fundamental changes in their teaching. They may make bigger changes later, and they may not. Other teachers will take tiny steps, and as they get more confident, make bigger changes. Trainers usually don't see the long-term effects of their work.


                      So I  think it's important to realize how much we are asking from teachers as they rethink their craft and celebrate even the babiest of steps.


                      And try not to beat yourself up which, if you're like most of us, is easier said than done.



                      • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                        Well, 20-some days later I finally read some of the messages here and totally found something I have to reply to.  Naomi - you have made my day.  Not because you had a very frustrating day and questioned your talents, your skills, etc.  But, because I don't feel quite so bad now over my own bad days.  You're so awesome, and have started to gain a world-wide following . . . if you experience those kind of days, I won't feel so bad over mine!  That being said, I just have to comment on the teachers you described.  The ones who just wanted to sit and watch or the ones who didn't even know what a browser was.  I just spent a week visiting my brother in the intensive care unit of our local hospital (he's fine now) - and watched as the nurses pulled over the arm-mounted laptop, input all his information, scanned his meds, read their orders, etc. etc. etc.  And they did all this without blinking an eye.  Not once did I hear someone say, "I liked it much better when we wrote everything by hand and kept charts hanging on the end of the bed."  Why do teachers get to CHOOSE?  Nurses don't!

                        Just wanted to vent a little . . .

                          • Re: Frustrated in the MidWest: What happens when educators "don't get it"- the Intel Teach Elements PBA?

                            Bodie- I appreciate your insight and feedback on my frustration. I have moved on from that say- and learned a lot about myself and ours I am working with in these rural and impoverished districts. Your hospital example is prime a example of how every profession needs to to keep up and stay current with the technology to be more efferent and productive with job performance.  I hope your brother is doing well, and knowing that he had most likely the state of the art technology healthcare and caring and knowledgeable staff aided in his recovery.


                            I just returned home last week from the WI state conference and  I actively listened to a lot of the conversations and back channel chats that took place.  Many positive interactions took place that clearly outweighed the negative- and this is always good.  We do have quite a few library media educators that attended this conference that fit the stereotype of just working with card catalogues and shelving books.  Bless their hearts- they were very effective and still are in many ways, but when the conversation turned- and the LMC specialist asked why there was not any coffee being served at the Bloggers "Cyber" Cafe, she became quite upset with me.  She told me that was very misleading- because they were hoping to find an area to sit down and have afternoon coffee.  The description in our conference booklet clearly stated "Bloggers Cafe" (9AM-5PM each day) come visit this area to recharge your laptops, network with spotlight speakers and others to share your latest technology and media stories while learning new tips and tricks to support your 21st library media centers and k-12 teaching and learning environments.


                            I just had to laugh and smile at these LMC specialists.  This same situation happened to me almost two years ago with the same connotation.  I find it amazing how the terminology and context clues have changed for many, and some have never made that transition as of yet to apply to their world.  This most likely will happen to me as well, if I would choose to not stay current on trends and integration stratigies for the k-12 teaching and learning environment- hopefully not :-)  It really shows that we need to be more aware of our global surroundings and content areas, and we should be specializing in multiple areas instead of just one subject area for a lifetime.


                            Still smiling and laughing inside,


                            Naomi Harm