|Image Source: http://cannonballpools.ca/content/images/stories/main/1.jpg|
If you were a Director of Technology of a school district, would you consider implementing the Ubermix netbooks at that district? Would you allow multiple options if the district has already invested a lot in lets say iPads? What would your ideal district look like in regards to technology in the classroom for teachers and students as well as administrators?
My response follows and I invite you to share your approach in the comments or a separately linked blog entry:
The real issue question isn’t the technology, whether it’s netbooks running Linux or iPads. This sets us up for a choice that is all or nothing. It’s NOT all or nothing. We have to first, as a group of educators in an organization, clarify what it is that we want, what we don’t want, and then find a better problem to solve than whether we choose netbooks or iPads.
What we want: In conversation with one’s school district, what is it that we want for the District? What I want for students in my school district is to be able to use technology as a way to create content in collaboration with each other, publish it online to a worldwide audience, as well as appreciate how to curate the unending content available online, connecting it in ways that are relevant to their learning work. I want them to be able to nimbly embrace new web-based technologies without having to constantly patrol and restrict their usage for every new cloud computin’ tool that becomes available.
What we don’t want: What I don’t want is to choose technology options for students that fundamentally limit their interactions, close off reciprocal, multi-modal, multimedia dialogue with others, and impair their learning work.
A Better Problem: How can I facilitate technology options that maximize student learning opportunities and avoid technologies that limit student interaction and learning?
- Is there a way to select linux netbooks as well as iPads and expand student ability to accomplish learning activities that are relevant to working in an online 4Cs environment?
- Is there a way to have stakeholders come together to discuss all the options and not get stuck with a solution that is technically impossible to support (e.g. synching iPads at home because iTunes is blocked at work, or conversely, running updates on linux netbooks because package updates take too long)?
Image Source: http://goo.gl/PSL4y
Aside: The fun starts with the conversations and connections that develop among the group and between members. Invariably, people will start to make connections that some may see as unproductive. When those situations arise, it’s fun to remember the veracity of this statement:
A cracked water pot may fill a shorter glass but it creates brighter blossoms along the bearer’s path. – @RoyReid
The journey will definitely result in some brighter blossoms for the organization, provided you’re open to the opportunity to see them as such. I’ve seen firsthand how easy it is to “tamp down” on these, or “smooth them over” as one deputy superintendent of a small school district I worked in put it in exasperation (a point I promptly encouraged him to reframe).
“Each of us enters conversations with our own opinions, feelings, theories, and experiences about the topic at hand. This unique combination of thoughts and feelings makes up our personal pool of meaning. This pool not only informs us but also propels our ever action.”
“When two or more of us enter crucial conversations, by definition we don’t share the same pool. Our opinions differ. I believe one thing, you another. I have one history, you another.”
“People who are skilled at dialogue do their best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool—even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with their own beliefs. Now, obviously they don’t agree with every idea; they simply do their best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more
committed action later on.”
Rather than taking a top-down approach, [the principal] attempted to facilitate technology adoption among teachers in a way that gave them ownership of the transition…educators involved displayed leadership in transforming organizational culture, extending the effect of their experience beyond the level of their personal development to create change at the school level.Source: Janson, A., and R. Janson. 2009. Integrating digital learning objects in the classroom: A need for educational leadership.Innovate 5 (3). http://www.innovateonline.info/index.php?view=article&id=581 (accessed July 23, 2009).
Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner