Scott's bold-faced question is: "Why aren't our school organizations expecting more of their employees?" By "more" he means "tech use," which he illustrates by comparing teachers to architects, stockbrokers, and grocery checkers:
For example, a grocery store checker doesn't get to say 'No thanks, I don't think I'll use a register.' A stockbroker doesn't get to say, 'No thanks, I don't think I'll use a computer.' An architect doesn't get to say, 'No thanks, I don't think I'll use AutoCAD.' But in education, we plead and implore and incentivize but we never seem to require.
The difference, without sharpening my point too finely, is that the effect of technology on instruction is highly variable, while its effect on those other jobs is not.
Consider the vast, comical difference between a) an architect who uses computer-assisted drafting software and one who drafts by hand, b) a checker who uses a register and one who tracks purchases with a pencil, and c) a broker who relies on Bloomberg's stock monitoring software and one who uses a ticker tape machine.
Then consider the difference between a teacher who uses blogs, wikis, podcasts, vodcasts, VoiceThread, Operator11, SlideShare, TeacherTube, Flickr, Animoto, and one who doesn't. The difference between the two is less obvious neither is it necessarily positive. When used improperly and uncreatively, these tools do more harm than good1.
If the difference between the converted and unwashed teachers were that obvious, that is, if these tools maximized student engagement while minimizing time wasted right out of the box2 (as they do for architects, stockbrokers, and checkers) I'd find Scott's question a little more pressing and a little less riddled by assumption.
But schools employ technology coordinators (a position unlike any that exist in architecture, stock brokerage, or grocery) to validate those assumptions, to prove and re-prove the opportunities which exist when teachers use these tools well.
If technology coordinators believe that salesmanship is beneath their job description, if they presume that teachers should leap hungrily at their technology before they'll step in and set up a wiki, then they will doubtlessly find their philosophy reflected back at them in the cynicism and disinterest of their faculty3.
Selling tech to the teacher is the tech coordinator's job just like selling learning to the student is the teacher's. Anyone who thinks he's in a seller's market here deludes himself. Anyone who thinks that punitive measures for the buyer will solve his market crisis (cf. John Gross' comment at Scott's) is even more deluded.
- cf. One high profile flop; 99% of PowerPoint presentations.
- cf. Important Ratio #1.
- Not that I'm expecting a show of hands, but I'm curious how many tech coordinators approach their job with this pocketful of presumptions. I'm at a disadvantage here as the only tech coordinators I read (Kim, Patrick, and Ken, plus Scott with his sporadic tech evangelism scripts) seem tireless in their pursuit of their colleagues.