I have been thinking recently that educators and parents are staring at an open door called Technology Integration. Both waiting for the other to step through first but neither are volunteering to take first step either. Educators don't want to go first because of fear of parent complaints of not having the means support educational technology assignments at home or unwillingness to find ways for students to get to computers. Parents are unwilling to step through because they have not seen schools assigning technology-based assignments, so why should they go through the expense if it is not needed. While both sides stare at the opening students continue to suffer because they are not exposed to some great educational opportunities.
Two recent projects I worked on with teachers and students showed both sides they can enter into a wonderful experience much like Alice did falling down the Rabbit Hole or going through the Looking Glass to get to the Wonderland Lewis Carroll wrote about. The first project had students creating wikis about Alaska for a sixth grade reading class. The other was a blogging project that was part of a larger cross-curriculum eighth grade English-Science research paper. Both teachers reported their respective projects were more successful than they believed possible. Even better, the teachers and their students want more.
While this feedback from the two teachers would be considered great news news, there is more. In both cases the projects were done with minimal computer lab use. To accomplish the assignments students used computers at home, in the classroom, public library, and friends' houses to get the assignments done. Why no computer labs? There were none available. This proves something I have been saying to teachers for the last few years: With enough creativity, ingenuity, and determination a technology-based project can be accomplished successfully without a computer lab. Now I have anecdotal proof to show it can be done whenever a teacher says it can't. Parents now see teachers are giving the assignments and will make the necessary investments to support their children. The welcome mat is now out so both parties may now enter into a wonderful new world.