Friday, March 2, 2007

How Far is Too Far?

One of the many things I am learning this year, aside from more technological applications, is how to recognize when I am overwhelming people with information or ideas. As many of us know, learning is a messy thing, with spills and fits and starts a constant part of the process.

Here is my rule of thumb, when no one in the room can finish your sentence for you on a routine, recognizable topic, then you have lost them and better slow down and refresh. Teachers and administrators have one basic thing (among many others, of course) in common: shortage of time, and I always try to plan with that in mind when presenting to either group. However, that doesn't always translate to a well-executed presentation.

My problem is that I see so much possibility for integration RIGHT NOW with my staff. It's a sense of urgency caused by in short form, the coolness factor, but in long form by the need to completely redesign the way we present material to students. Our ability to access information is unparalleled compared to any other period of history, and yet we are teaching students to access information using methodology that, although it uses technology, is based on how we researched with Dewey Decimal and note cards. The life we were prepared for is not the life we will be preparing our children for; our methods should reflect that.

When I get moving like this in a faculty meeting, what I mistake for passion and urgency, some might mistake for lunacy or might just, like the high school students in today's earlier post, tune me out as that crazy tech guy. And this is where the bulk of my learning is taking place--in that moment. Because I am forced tor respond to an obvious overshoot. I am getting better and better, but there still is a lot of room for improvement.


Clay Burell said...

You nailed that one, Pat, and your rule of thumb is one I'll try out....

My first visit to your blog, and I appreciate your reflectiveness and style--AND your links to actual classroom projects. Very valuable, that.

I'm going to check out the War of 1812 digital storytelling wiki you linked to now and see what I can learn. We're doing the same for 19th century (self-selected topics) in my own history class.

My first time with this, so again, keep sharing that classroom work!


Barbara said...

Patrick, if I understood you correctly, you are thinking along the same lines I am. The balance between my sense of urgency and the capacity for change is a constant point of struggle. How do we increase capacity for change?

Patrick Higgins said...

Thanks for the posts Clay, Barbara. I will be putting this rule to a fairly stringent test tomorrow, as I meet with 10 teachers to show them some of the tools that Google has to offer educators. 8 tools in three days, but I am breaking it up into three, one-hour sessions. We'll move fast, but we'll have time to play around. When the wiki is fully completed, I will open it up for all to see and share.