Just Keep Swimming

by Beth Knittle on April 24, 2008

In the last few weeks I have been trying to drum up business. Hoping to get teachers to work with new tools in the classroom, always a challenge as the year draws to a close. Anyway…

I have been hearing more and more of the following lately.

  • Why should I learn this tool, won’t there just be another one?
  • What is ONE I should be using.
  • There are too many tools what is the best one?

I sympathize. I try to offer a couple of tools for each task but there are always new, better and cooler tools coming along. I get excited about them so I share.

Today I read the post I’m Still Rezzing by Bob Sprankle. You really need to read the post in its entirety, it covers a lot of ground. He writes;

In a sense, isn’t so much of the Internet “still rezzing?” Most of the tools we use are either still in “beta” or are an early draft in a long lineage of “updates.” Many of the technologies that we think are brilliant today will be replaced with even better realizations in the future.

We are working with a medium still in flux, perhaps forever in the process of becoming the instrument we dream of.

Bob really explains well what I have been feeling and trying unsuccessfully to share with the teachers I work with. There is never really an end. We always learn and grow. there have always been new programs and technologies it is just that they are coming at us much faster. Therefor use the tools that you find useful, feel free to chose. No longer is it dictated to you what tools you will work with. And freedom of choice comes with responsibility. So be flexible, be open, be an explorer.

He continues.

…And yet, most of the time, we are forgiving. We’ve become accustomed to websites being “down,” browsers crashing, incompatible applications, constant problem solving. Our response to technical issues is to find alternatives, seek upgrades, reconfigure. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s given up on the Internet because of its problems. We understand that the Internet is still evolving.

This is so true, we just keep plugging along. I need to stress this to the teachers who tend to give up a bit too easily. You are already a trouble shooter and have learned Internet adaptability. The Internet is evolving and so are you. Keep learning, experimenting and never give up. In the words of Dora “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chad L. May 11, 2008 at 11:05 am

I struggle with this every day. I see the value of jumping in and trying things out. However, I’m not a classroom teacher right now and I know they have a lot on their plate. They need to address test scores and they don’t see a connection at this point. The question about “Why should I learn this?” is a good one that teachers are asking. It’s also hard for me to give a short answer that is acceptable to them.

Adam May 23, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Hi!

Whenever someone asks me what is the best, or my favorite, tool I always ask back, “What are you trying to accomplish?” I don’t think there is one best tool-just lots of good ones depending on how you make use of them. I think the struggle here comes down to the fact that, in the rat race that is the school year, teachers forget that they can (and should) be learners as well. I’m working with a teacher right now, 20 years worth of experience and in the last two weeks of the year, who is still trying out new things with her class (like Voicethread). Not once has she asked, “Why should I learn this.?” I believe that question says more about the teacher’s attitude than it does about any of the tools we have available…

Adam

Mike June 5, 2008 at 8:59 pm

I like the tool bag metaphor: you’re learning about this tool so it is in your toolbag and you know how to use it. That doesn’t mean you’ll start using it right away. But when the time comes, I want you to be ready.

Which tool should you use? Use the one that best fits your comfort level, your students’ needs, and the curriculum.

Another good answer is, “Yes, another tool will undoubtedly come along to replace this one. And when it does, you’ll be able to learn it more quickly and more completely because of what you learned today. Learning builds on learning. It gets easier with each new application.” Mastery doesn’t only mean you know everything there is to know about what’s out there now; it means being able to understand the new things that come down the pipe tomorrow.

Leave a Comment