Well it was ProD day for me today. No I didn’t sleep in, play golf or catch a movie… Like all teachers I know, I came to work, sat down with colleagues and learned a thing or two. The shape of the day was nothing extraordinary. To start off we had an all in staff session where we addressed some standard operational issues and then we were released to pursue a our own professional interests.
For the second portion of the day, I was asked to head up a session on blogging for the classroom. Originally it was going to be a simple little 1 0n 1 tutorial but it bloomed into a full on multi person information session. Even though the numbers had unexpectedly increased, I didn’t want to pull the sage on the stage thing where I stood and delivered my wisdom upon people who are far more gifted pedagogues than I. Instead what we did was sit around a large table and I opened with “Why am I here?” and it went from there.
What resulted was something that went in a completely different direction than it would have if I had done the one on one session or taken the sage on the stage approach. It was a perfect example of Edcamp ProD where we all had the opportunity to share what we know on a common topic and ultimately come up with a solution that meets everyone’s individual needs.
What is even more significant, is that the solution most people ended up turning to, wasn’t even something I had planned to share with them. Imagine… Me! The “expert” being subverted by a bunch of luddites! Actually to be fair, there were some pretty tech savvy people in the room but the key here was that I wasn’t standing and delivering. Instead everyone had the opportunity to share what their needs were, explain what they wanted to achieve and contributed what they already knew. My role was simply to act as someone to bounce ideas off of. My opinion was of value but not the end all or be all of the discussion.
What today illustrated to me was that when it comes to Ed Tech, the know-it-all approach alienates and isolates teachers. Even the most traditional teachers in today’s session recognized the learning opportunities blogging offers them and their students. What they wanted was someone to listen to their needs and then together, come up with a solution.
What I also realized is that what I have to offer my colleagues in the world of Ed Tech is only as useful as its adaptability to their individual needs. Broad stroke Ed Tech solutions cannot work in a system that still involves teachers. The notion of a single device or platform that will serve everyone’s Ed Tech needs is grievously flawed and if we ever come to this place in education, we are in serious trouble.
Have a good weekend!