Throw away lines worth keeping

This week our staff spent some time over two days with Stuart Hale (@stuartnz) looking at mobile technologies in schools – the trends, the future and some hands on practical tips for ipads and ipods.

Over those 2 days I was able to catch some great one liners that I tweeted.  Here are my favourites and a comment or two.

“If you think technology is expensive for schools, try ingnorance.”  

Stuart was speaking to a group of Principals and Boards and explaining the costs of infrastructure and monthly broadband.  Sadly there are too many schools with a deficit view on technology. – ‘We’ll buy a couple of computers for every room cause we don’t want to look behind the times.’  They rarely invest the capital needed for what @Stuartnz calls, ‘A robust wireless network’ let alone the resources needed for effective staff PD and support.  Technology is moving rapidly and, I would argue, its use in education.  The long term costs of falling further and further behind is frightening!

“Technology will hook them but it won’t cook them.”

It’s true that technology can be great for motivation and engagement.  But, as we all know, it’s the expertise of the teacher to use technology within an effective teaching process that makes the difference.  High expectations, higher order thinking, formative practise, personalised learning strategies; these are some of the steps in that process.  ‘He tangata, tangata, tangata.’  It’s also all about people – the relationship between the teacher and the students is most important!

“Feed the hungry!  Stop watering stones.”

There is a trend in many schools to have a technology strategy that spreads access across all classrooms and teachers.  @Stuartnz puts a lot of the blame for this on the shoulders of our egalitarian society.  We want to make things fair and equal but what this usually results in is computers in classrooms gathering dust while a teacher next door is crying out for more!

I’ve written about my ‘peloton model of change’ before (a peloton is a group of bike riders who use one rider at the front to break the air in front and create a draft for those behind) where we resource one or two progressive teachers and see them drive change and elearning progress with a school.  If we want to see change we need to equip the change makers.

“We shouldn’t be teaching hammer skills.  We should be teaching woodwork.”

Many teachers will go to some PD on how to use imovie and then teach the same skills to their class the next day. There’s no question that students need to learn these skills but gone are the days of the computer suite where we teach a class how to use a tool.  This generation picks up things incredibly quickly and can easily do it within the learning process.

Teach the skills as you move through your movie making project and learn them as you need them.  Don’t teach students how to use comic life – use comic life while teaching your students to communicate a message to an audience.

“Your digital footprint is like a tattoo.  Once it’s there you can’t remove it.”

Everyone needs to understand that their digital actions have eternal consequences.  What we upload is incredible difficult to remove if others have owned or distributed it.  There are many students, @Stuartnz commented, that are putting their futures in jeapody due to naive mistakes they are making in their teens and twenties.  It’s all about being cyber-smart!


One thought on “Throw away lines worth keeping

  1. Mark! I enjoyed this post. Glad you had a good time with Stuart (what a good use of PD money).

    Love the quotes but are wrestling with the one about teaching woodwork instead of hammer skills. This is not because I disagree with it as someone who knows about 'woodwork' but because I know that another teacher who doesn't know about 'woodwork' would be lost if they didn't know the big picture (progression of skills needed) and how to teach those skills (or how to use the 'hammer'). So what do we do? It is a bit like the age old question; is it the chicken or the egg. I might Skype you as I also think it is time for a catchup!


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