Who is in charge here?

I never expected the reaction to Saturday’s post that I got.  It happens sometimes when you’re blogging; a topic just hits everyone’s imagination and they run with it.

So, I’m looking at the retweets, favouriting, and liking that resulted and I almost thought that I should do more collaboration with Peter McAsh.

What we thought would be a Top 10 List just ended up being a great big long list of observations and thoughts that the two of us had.  As I looked over the list this morning, it seems to me that they would actually be classified as either

a) something you have control over or

b) something that someone else owns.

So, going back to Colleen Rose’s original question,

What holds us back from embracing technology in our daily practice?

perhaps immediate success will result by looking at the things that you can control.  In the longer run, success will come with a partnership involving someone else.

And, of course, the moment that I try to make it binary, there are some topics that could fall into either category depending upon mindset.

As an aside, what happened here is kind of amazing and serves as an introduction to what you read next and then below. I wrote the original post this Sunday morning and shared it with Colleen and Peter. Then, it was time for me to take off and do some family special stuff. All day, and I’m not exaggerating, my phone kept going off as the two of them were conversing about this topic back and forth. Me? My wife and the dog and I were enjoying a stroll down the edge of the Detroit River enjoying the Sculpture Gardens. When I returned home, I got a chance to get on a computer and see what had happened. It was collaboration at its finest. It wasn’t just lip service; they helped frame this post into what it ultimately is.  We weren’t in the same place at the same time.  It was anything but.

I’m so thankful that I’ve made the connections to such wonderful and insightful educators. Please read on and enjoy.

Things you have control over

  • The kids know more than I do
  • I dont have time; so many other things that are more important
  • How do I know that it fits the curriculum?
  • It’s not in the curriculum
  • Too much curriculum; not enough time to experiment
  • I’m not sure I have a login on the school network.  Who do I ask?
  • I have a Mac at home and the school has Windows
  • What if the kids get into a porn site?
  • I can teach the topic better without technology
  • I’m a Google person trapped in a Microsoft world or vice versa
  • I’m concerned about student privacy
  • I’m concerned about my own privacy
  • Somebody needs to be the champion of cursive
  • Nobody has ever hacked my filing cabinet
  • The printer never works I have to print their work so I can mark it
  • I tried once and failed badly.  Once burned, twice shy.
  • Nobody else does, why should I?
  • What do I do when something goes wrong?
  • I don’t want to show a weakness in my knowledge in front of the class
  • What if a student puts 2 spaces after a period?
  • What if their essay or report includes emoji?
  • Many of the resources have US content. What about Canadian resources?
  • It’s the librarian’s job
  • How do I mark it?
  • Two words Fake News

Interestingly, I could think of arguments that would move a topic from one group to the other as I was moving them around.

Things that are under the control of someone else

  • If my board or school thought it was important, they would do workshops and train me
  • My school doesn’t have enough computers for every student to have their own
  • I need a workshop on this
  • Nothing worse than booking the lab, taking the entire class there, and then half the computers are broken
  • The IT Department has the computers locked down and I can’t run the software I need
  • Our computers are too old and not powerful enough
  • The printer never works I have to print their work so I can mark it
  • What if the technology isn’t charged and goes dead in class?
  • Phones are banned in my school
  • The bulb in my data projector is burned out and my principal won’t replace it
  • I’ve never had a Scratch workshop; maybe my school could hire somebody

If you look at the sheer numbers, it would seem to be that the majority of reasons that we generated lie with the individual and not with someone else.  The big question is what issues are an immediate show stopper?

Does this lay the groundwork for a little professional learning?

Do you agree with my classification?  If not, which one(s) would you move?

What follows is from Peter. It’s basically the first comment for the blog post, except it was written while the blog post was still developing!

Some of my observations / opinions / thoughts:
There are many things that I like about this topic. It’s practical; it touches everybody; it’s an important issue; it doesn’t deal with any current edu-babble theory. When you, Doug, first came up with the idea of a Top 10 list we started putting down what could be considered “flippant” (I’m good at flippant) ideas. You even warned people that there were “tongue in cheek” statements. Looking back, regardless of the degree of flippant-ness, they are all valid, even the very tongue in cheek ones! It was interesting how quickly we came up with such a long list. I got off to a fast start with the first 5 (back when it was going to be 10) but then you went crazy and added so many more before I had a chance! (I’m not competitive!).

The fact that so many people were moved to contribute to this discussion, on the weekend of March Break, demonstrates that Colleen has identified an issue that is on everybody’s mind, perhaps “the elephant in the room”?

From our (you and I, Doug) position of “old farts” it’s interesting to note that we dealt with this issue throughout our careers (which people all know started in 1979, from your excellent blog post interview with me), yet it continues to be an important issue. Looking back over the list, the majority of the items would have been in a list that we might have put together earlier in our careers. The one big difference between now, and then, is the quantity of equipment and applications available (OK that’s two). When I was in DCVI in December, every student and teacher has a school supplied iPad mini. The wifi is open to everyone. There is one fewer computer lab (number of students has significantly declined even in the last 3 years) but every student has an iPad! The IT-required half-credit Grade 9 BTT course (perhaps the biggest positive achievement of my career) now includes a section of integration on use of the iPad in the student’s life. Times have changed, but in some ways, not.

What’s our next blog post?


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