I have seen school districts adopt all sorts of technology systems including grade books, online curricula, learning modules, and other information systems. Most of the time, the selection of these tools is based on the administrator's need of the moment and little thought is given to the usability of the system and how well it will adapt to changes elsewhere in the system. Countless hours of teacher time are wasted training them to use horrible software and millions of dollars are thrown away on systems ill-suited to the needs of teachers and students. On top of that administrators' dictates that require teachers to use these systems create enormous amounts of stress for teachers for little benefit. What is needed is a new approach that focuses on designing flexible systems, run by knowledgeable administrators who's primary mission is to meet the needs of busy teachers and students.
This brings me to my new big idea. My new Web site, www.wildcatlearning.org is focused on quickly building a learning portal for our school that grows organically while giving teachers many options and making their lives easier. My dream is to harness all of the creative energy of the most tech-savvy teachers in the school toward building a "one-stop" destination for information and learning technology. I'm offering these teachers not just a technology platform but the necessary support and training that helps them get the job done.
I'm not going to do any training or staff-development train users for this Web site, but I do hope to steer teachers here because it makes implementing technology in their class much easier. It must be my crazy idealism, butI think it's better to try to entice teachers by offering them help and point-of-need training and easy implementation rather than trying to bribe them to attend tech trainings with food or without the administration mandating anything. We'll see if it works.