Last fall the overly large school system I work for gave most elementary teachers a laptop computer to use (something they should have done for all teachers five years ago!). This summer we conducted four one-day training sessions for some of those teachers who have become comfortable with their laptops and are ready to move to the next level. The point of the sessions was to work on practical ways to use the machines to make their teaching better and, overall, the sessions were a great success.

But looking around the orientation at the start of the day, I’m not sure that all the people we saw were exactly "comfortable" with the computer. Too many of them seemed to approach the device as if it was a delicate instrument that would break at any minute. It was interesting that a large number of people could not even install the software we gave them without help (even with the instructions on paper in front of them).

I’m not criticizing any of these teachers, especially since they attended on their own time for no pay other than the USB drive in their packets and a few other goodies. I understand that people must go through various stages in learning anything new, including use of a computer. But considering all the time, effort and money that our district has poured into technology over the past five years – not to mention the large number of home computers in this area – I thought we would have very few that hadn’t reached that "comfortable" stage. I guess I hang around with too many geeks.