Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teacher as Developers

I am always a bit conflicted in regards to teachers being developers. I know that just in saying so it sounds as though I am saying teachers should not be developers. No so. On the other hand, learning how to develop content for online or LMS delivery was something I and many others have studied specifically. Those who have earned the degree are better suited for content development -- right? many developers have no teaching experience and are very good developers. Back on the other hand, teachers ARE trained on how to develop lesson plans and deliver education. They (we) are able to put together content for a class and adapt it to differing learning styles, and deal with discipline and deal with environmental issues and ..... So, building content for a teacher is second nature.

I have began to realize that this debate should die. I want to personally stop thinking about titles and who has the "right" to call themselves a developer and who does not. I know some amazing teachers who could not develop a single lesson and I know non-teachers as I mentioned above that can build targeted instruction with all the educational pedagogical features and benefits needed for a client.

I do think that what has kept teachers from honing their development skills are tools. After all, being a teacher is a full time job. So, developing technology based content either becomes an all consuming passion, or it is always just something a teacher dabbles in with limited success due to the lack of tools, or in most cases, the lack of insight into the tools that are out there.

Without sounding like an ad, I was introduced conceptually to Articulate last week (thanks Vince -- Bloom IIT). After looking at it a bit closer, it does sound promising, not sure yet. My first thought was, how could I use this in a school system, where the goal was to integrate an LMS or other technologies to help support classroom instruction.

In addition to the lack of insights to tools, I couldn't write this without acknowledging that often all teachers need is help with a vision. While I may have been the teacher who was always looking for ways to bring a subject closer to the students through technology, not all are. Many teachers struggle personally with that goal, but are just too overwhelmed to try and find a solution on their own.

I know I have posted before that my philosophy of helping teachers with technology is -- "Get past the initial training quickly." As a technology resource, I would add "Supply intuitive tools for development" and most importantly "Help shape their vision."

Are teachers developers? Yes, in my mind they are well suited -- with our help. We have to remember that developers did not become developers without help. We all were introduced to the tools, we all spent focused time discussing a vision of technology and how it can aid instruction and we all received tons of feedback from skilled trainers and professors.

I may have just written this to remind myself what my job is as I go into schools and help them integrate technology, not sure. But I do feel a bit more focused now.

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