Where was that option?

A teaching colleague in Australia asked a question on a mailing list the other day about ways to incorporate ICT into the teaching of literacy and numeracy for her students. She received a rather sensible suggestion (from a teacher/librarian) that her own school’s teacher/librarian should be able to help her with such a request. That seems sensible… after all aren’t librarians supposed to be trained in the use of literacy resources? Don’t librarians deal with information-based resources on a daily basis? And don’t most of our information-based resources come in a digital format these days? Logically then, wouldn’t a librarian be the best person to speak to if one wanted to some assistance with the use of ICT for assisting literacy?

So the suggestion was made. “Ask your friendly teacher/librarian. They should be able to help you.”

The answer came back… “Our teacher/librarian is not really into ICT”

“Not really into ICT?” Sorry, but when did the luxury of being “into ICT” become one of the choices? As a teacher, or a librarian, but especially as a teacher/librarian, you can’t just be “not really into ICT”. You’re free to choose many things… you can be “not really into heavy metal music”, or be “not really into black jelly beans” or be “not really into Dan Brown novels”, but to be “not really into ICT” is not an option you have. It makes me a bit cross, because it seems there are still librarians, and teachers too for that matter, who pick and choose what aspects of their job they decide they will “be into”.

I’m not really into writing programs and registers, but I have to. It’s part of the job of being a teacher. I’m not really into standing in the playground in the middle of winter, but supervision duty is part of the job of being a teacher. I didn’t used to know a huge amount about developing literacy skills, differentiating the curriculum, or dealing with peanut allergies, but I had to learn these things because it’s a part of the job of being a teacher. Not “being into” these things was not an option for me. It was “deal with it, or find another career”.

I’m not sure why being “into ICT” is still seen as optional for so many teachers. This is 2006. The use of digital technologies is so deeply embedded into our students’ cultures, lives, thinking and day-to-day existence, that for a teacher or a T/L to simply be “not into ICT” amounts to what I can only describe as professional negligence.

There I said it.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Where was that option? by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

0 Replies to “Where was that option?”

  1. I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one wondering how librarians can possibly decide not to deal with technology. It’s interesting to see that many of them take the online databases on board because they are simply online versions of books they are used to using. Throw Wikipedia in the mix and all of a sudden it’s an impossible task. In a recent faculty meeting, our librarian complained that she doesn’t allow (or encourage other teachers to allow) students to use an Internet search engine because it’s “mindless.” My mental response was: Sure, the search engine may be randomly searching for keywords, but the mind that’s involved is the student’s. That’s why we have to teach them about these technologies. They need to know how to find information for themselves, they won’t always have a preselected little cart of books to work from for the rest of their lives…

That's all well and good, but what do YOU think?