Ships have rudders. There’s a good reason for that: without one it would be very difficult to get to where you’re going. It would take a very long time to reach the end of your journey.
When it comes to projects, programmes and initiatives we too are presumably heading towards a destination. And whilst it’s absolutely OK to enjoy the journey, the whole point of an intervention is to change something. When you’ve effected that change, you’ve reached the end of your journey. And, if you’re doing it properly, another one beings.
So to get to a destination with initiatives we need ‘rudders’. These are absolutely crucial for technology initiatives as we’re all easily distracted by shiny shiny technology and the promises made by manufacturers. We need some guiding principles, some values.
After my DMLcentral post on iPads and one-to-one initiatives I was accused in the comments section and on Google+ of being an ‘idealist’.
As if that were a bad thing.
You know, I’ve worked in schools. I’ve worked in the senior leadership of schools. I’ve worked nationally (in the UK) as part of educational technology and e-learning in the Further and Higher education sectors. I’ve studied digital literacies for six years. And nowadays I work worldwide with Mozilla.
I’m not saying this to say my opinion is correct and to smack down other people – of course not. I’m just saying that a principled, valued-based approach to educational technology, in my experience, works a whole lot better than jumping on the latest bandwagon.
I’ve explained the perils of shiny shiny educational technology before. We should absolutely use what’s available to us at any given time, but perhaps hitchhiking is a better metaphor than bandwagon-jumping?
Image CC BY-NC lin_susanna
My latest post at DMLcentral (the 10th I’ve written for them) is now up. Entitled Some Thoughts on iPads and One-to-One Initiatives I reflect on the seeming tendency of educational institutions not to heed lessons about buying wholesale into a single vendor’s ecosystem.
To my mind, educational institutions uncritically adopting iPads is very similar to the dominance Microsoft had through their Windows series of operating systems and Office suite. I argue in the post for a ‘mixed economy’ of devices which is better in the long run for all concerned.
Check out the post by clicking here.
(I’ve closed comments here so you can comment there!)
I had a really interesting conversation on Twitter with Fraser Speirs and Dave Major this morning about ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and cross-platform tools for learning. You can see that conversation ‘storyified’ here.
I’ve blogged before about why a ‘mixed economy’ of device is best for educational institutions and I’d like to expand upon that briefly with three main points:
1. Learning is something that happens in the brain of learners. You might be able to give them consistency of device and platform but you can’t guarantee that they will have the same experience. Therefore, using that as a reason to go with one particular device is problematic.
2. Educators need to focus on activities rather than tools. One of the examples that Apple advocates often give of the superiority of iPads is GarageBand. It’s an awesome application, but it’s not a learning activity. I’d be really interested in discovering which learning activities can only be carried out on one type of device. I suspect you won’t find any.
3. What we do in classrooms is linked to, but should not be driven by, market forces. We can only buy and use what’s available, but we don’t have to be taken in by the rhetoric of companies. After all, they’re in it to make money. How the world turns out is much more in the hands of educators than anyone else.
Remember that. 🙂
Image CC BY Domenic K.