Wednesday, November 09, 2005
posted by Q6 at 11:09 PM
I recently had the pleasure of locking thirty-five teachers in a computer lab at 7 in the morning to do nothing more than fill out an online survey on technology use in the classroom. They found it tedious and a little offensive--the other two thirds of the faculty were learning website design and providing input on a multimedia academy proposal--but only one of the teachers subjected to my techno-torture complained to the administration (the rest complained about it to each other in the lunch room, I guess).

Their argument was simply this: staff development time did not need to be wasted on this survey. This survey could have been done online from anywhere at anytime. They could have done it from their classrooms on their conference periods. They could have done it from an Internet Cafe. They could have done it at home, at midnight, in their underwear. Our response to this argument was equally simple: they don't. In the two online surveys previous to this one, teachers were asked to complete the surveys at their leisure. They were given both the responsibility and the benefit of the doubt. They failed spectacularly. For survey number two, we literally had to hunt them down and drag them to the lab one at a time to get them to complete it.

So next week I will conduct an experiment. I've been given another survey to dole out (not about technology, but about student behavior as it pertains to health issues), and I'm going to use it for two purposes: the first, obviously, is to collect the required data; the second is to find out if the teachers can put their time where their mouths are. The survey is optional this time around (the last several have not been), so if they blow chunks on this task I won't lose any sleep. Moreover, I fully intend to disclose everything. This survey instruction sheet will have a big note from me on it saying, "If the faculty can't complete this survey on their own time, as they say they can, I promise I will lord it over them for the rest of their lives." This way, I win if they complete it, and I win if they don't. We'll see what happens.