Instructional Design: Is it Worth It?

So far I am frustrated about instructional design. I went to school to study English Literature. I continued my education in Composition and Rhetoric. Somewhere along the way, I alternatively certified to be a teacher. Not once in my formal education or professional development have I ever been formally taught to design in this way.  What is frustrating is that I’ve never met a teacher who goes into such details for their lessons. It’s taken me years to figure out how to design a practice that’s based on theory and data. Yet, I am still struggling to know how effective I am as an instructor. So, I am frustrated with instructional design because I think this kind of thinking is only reserved for our curriculum specialists in the district. While I know these analysis skills are critical for those designing for the entire district, every teacher still needs to know, at minimum, how to do a gap analysis for their classroom. So many teachers often shrug their shoulders when faced with the same challenges and failures over and over again. I know what it is like to feel like you’re running into the same wall over and over. Then a technology specialist shows up with web tools that convince you will solve all the problems.

But, they don’t work.

It doesn’t work because the problems are not actually clear. Teachers are stuck at complaining because maybe they don’t have tools to truly pinpoint breakdowns in the learning environment. Maybe if they had better tools to analyze their environment, they would stop complaining and start solving problems.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my technology specialists! They help me to evolve what we do in class into something we do in class differently and share into the world. But, what if technology specialists were able to bring in these analysis tools into their collaboration time with teachers or into summer training? What if the web tool was presented as a tool to support the gap in learning instead of just a cool thing or an easier way to collaborate? What if we tweeted out transformation in the classroom instead of just whatever hip cool thing is going on? What if we were able to identify the problem, solve it, change the data, and really have proof of effective instruction?

*sigh*

So, I am frustrated with instructional design because we need more of it.

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