It’s spring so, as with most years, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about TSIP.
For those of you from outside Virginia, TSIP is the Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel, a legislative requirement for all teachers enacted about ten years ago.
Everyone with a teaching license must complete the TSIP requirements, either during their first year in the state or in order to renew their license.
Unfortunately, the requirements haven’t changed in a decade and generally conform to what a college advisor called the “inoculation theory of professional development”: you need it, you get it, you never have to bother with it again.
One shot and you’re done.
My thinking on the whole TSIP concept today just happens to coincides with a call from ISTE and other organizations for people to blog and/or tweet about the lack of any ed tech funding in the proposed federal budget.
However, I’m not entirely sure that’s necessarily a bad idea.
I’m willing to bet that most of the half billion dollars allocated this year had very little impact on instruction anyway.
Most likely it was spent at the state or district level to buy expensive packages from educational conglomerates like Pearson (along with plenty of consultants, of course), promising “solutions” to whatever problem is at the top of your list.
But more to the point, I wonder if there’s really a need for “educational” technology anymore?
Does the artificial classification of hardware, software, web applications and the rest as “instructional” (with the inevitable conclusion that rest of the stuff is not) just get in the way of the basic idea that almost any technology could be used for learning?
And does the process also gives some in our profession the cover necessary to ignore anything considered “non-instructional”?
You know, all that tech the kids play with when they’re not with us or when we’re not looking.
We say we want students to be able to communicate and collaborate, to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to become creative and innovative in their work.
Do we really need special “edtech” to make that happen?
Or just a better understanding of how people in the real world are using all kinds of technology to improve their personal skills in all those areas and how to help our students learn to do the same.
Maybe, just like our tech standards that linger from the previous century, the whole concept of “educational technology” is outdated and obsolete.