Monday, April 28th, will be a staff development day. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a whole day to spend exploring--listening to inspiring speakers, talking about 21 century education and how it is different from what we are doing, sharing our dreams and our fears! Wouldn't it be great to spend the day getting comfortable and acquainted with some of the ideas that all the new technology is designed to bring us? What happened on Friday brought all these thoughts bubbling to the surface.
A teacher asked for help saving a project that a middle school student had produced and loaded on the school's homepage. Unfortunately, her district machine had been locked down, and she had no rights to download the current edition of Quicktime, to make seeing it possible. I could display the project on my laptop because I had the right software, but I could not burn it to my CD. I tried several different routes, but had no success, and since I'm not permitted the right click I couldn't even trouble shoot. I will have to wait until our faithful technician shows up.
Disappointed, when I told her I couldn't find a way to do it. she said. "I can't believe you couldn't do it." Puzzled, I looked at her and said, "Why, do you say that?" Her response? "You know everything about this stuff."
"How can you say that? There are a million things I don't know," I shot back incredulous! Her reality and mine were certainly at odds. Over the past seven years, I disconnected from technology because of an unsupportive environment. As a result I feel as much of a novice as I did in 1993. Still this teacher thought of me as an expert.
This difference between what is and what we believe to be is one reason we have a critical need for time together to explore what is available, to see places where technology is being integrated wisely, and to try on different technologies to see what fits us.
One of the things we need to explore is this dynamic that someone knows everything --- the guru. The metaphor for technology is a network where everyone contributes. We need to help everyone catch a glimpse of it. We share its blessings and struggle with it curses together -- equally. The truth is that those at the top of the network don't know how to do everything either. Because of increasing complexity, we all need to share what we learn as we become comfortable with it. The Laubach model of literacy applies. Each one teach one.