My opening reflections – pitfalls of technology / my “survival” strategies
First thoughts..Pitfalls of technology? As educators? pitfalls? Many. The one that immediately comes to mind from both personal experience and through my contact with other educators is the stress of “being left behind”. As a result, there’s an urge to incorporate the new for the sake of new.. especially difficult to deal with when confronted by “works for him ..must work for me” syndrome.
I’ve learned that this is further complicated by
not piloting .. trying things
not getting feedback on .. trying things
not getting enough support from management on .. trying things (especially when things go wrong) Strategies to not only survive but to prosper .. to develop? As an individual?
I now find myself trying to get a “no nonsense” review of what the “affordances” are of a given tool or web utility. There are now literally thousands of such “things” to choose from. I may hear about them via readings, social networks, colleagues etc. One thing is for sure, what may work for one person, what many may be ranting over .. may in fact not be relevant to me at all or may work for them and not for me.(i.e. a lot of noise about using m-learning of late .. As an educator?
While Z-Net, Wired or Techrepublic or … may be “promoting” or “projecting excitement” about “x”…. I also find the need to be discriminant about just how valuable a given tool may be both to me and my students. That ultimately requires me to be a reflective practitioner.. identifying needs / interests of my students, understanding my teaching / learning / instruction philosophy .. and then I know more clearly what I’m looking to improve.. THEN I know the types of “things” I’m looking for to enhance instruction with.. But I’ve also come to learn the importance of networking, finding a professional community .. that is compatible with my own thinking / etc. philosophy where this approach is being pursued and encouraged by others .. and then sharing findings amongst each other.. Thus learning communities and tools that put me in touch with those learning communities become extremely valuable to me as an educator – more so perhaps then even than the tools themselves are.