An assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts. There are many assumptions in education that are common in many schools from many districts. Some assumptions can be a hindrance to education reforms. Because these assumptions are believed by many educators to be true, they plan and make decisions based on these assumptions as if they were facts. Assumptions are not facts, but people continue to believe that they are. By the way I have no way of proving these statements that I am about to explore before you. I am making the assumption that my observations over the length of my career are proof enough for me to make generalizations.
First Assumption: Kids know more about technology than the teachers. We do not have to deal with technology since they know all about it.
Kids; are cell phone masters, can program DVR’s (VCR’s before that), text, use social media, download mp3 files, download videos, and use search engines. All of these abilities, however, are not a mastery of technology, although it might seem so to those who are even less technologically skilled.
Second Assumption: As an educator, if I can do PowerPoint presentations, I am effectively integrating technology into education.
With the introduction of a vast array of Web2.0 tools technology is cheap and abundant with applications to search, analyze, collaborate, create, communicate, and present. PowerPoint as good as it is, has become a digital Overhead projector. It is still useful, but limited compared to combinations of applications available.
Third Assumption: Colleges will turn out students to become teachers with a complete understanding of technology and education integration.
Many Colleges are using more and more Adjuncts. Many of these Adjuncts come from the ranks of secondary teachers, often older and many are retired. These are the very same educators who failed to integrate technology into education to begin with. They are believers of the first two assumptions.
Fourth Assumption: Senior teachers will never change; they are burnouts and will never take the time to learn new things.
As the founder of The Educator’s PLN Ning I accept members to that site every day. Many if not most of over 4,000 members are over 45 years of age. Veteran teachers are becoming targets and victims of assumptions. They are the highest salaried teachers, so the reason for targeting should be obvious. The fuel for this might be those senior teachers who do burn out, or refuse to professionally develop, but we are talking about a few and applying it to the whole.
Fifth Assumption: Administrators do not need to go through Professional Development. It is geared to teachers and not Administrators.
Administrators are our educational leaders. They need to model that which they expect their teachers to do. It goes without saying that they need to understand pedagogy to assess teachers’ lessons. Why should we not expect them to have a working knowledge of the newest tools of education as well?
Sixth Assumption: If we teach every bell and whistle in an application, teachers will see its worth and make it work in their class.
IT people need to understand that teachers need to fit the tool to the lesson not learn the application just to create a lesson. Professional development is very important for educators to stay relevant. I received a Masters degree in Educational Technology and none of the software or hardware that I learned on even exists today. Without Updating with PD I could not enable my students to effectively use the tools that they will need to be effective educators in our digital world.
I have offered a feast of assumptions which I have observed. I assume that you have your own favorites from you own experiences. The point of this post however, is not to swap war stories. We need to question and reflect on assumptions that are stalling change in our education system.
The biggest assumption: If I teach the way I learned, they will get it. We don’t need this technology stuff. If it was good enough for me it will be good enough for them.
I could continue the assumption list, but unless you have been living in a cave you should get the point and see some comparison of my examples to your own experiences. Feel free to comment here on assumptions that you are aware of and expose them. The sooner we dispel this stuff the sooner we can focus on what is real and get on with change. By the way I believe that my assumptions about these assumptions are factual.