We don't need to 'get it'

I’m catching up on my RSS reading from Spring Break and came across David Warlick’s posting about not getting social networks. The comments were interesting to read as well and I thought about this all night and offer this to the edublogosphere.

We don’t get it, we’re not suppose to get it, but we need to learn it.

There are so many new technologies, new sites, and new programs being created that people are starting to get frustrated by the amount of new networks, sites, and pace at which things are being created in the name of education. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t get most of it, in fact what I think we are all trying to do is to wrap our heads around all of it, make sense of it, and see if it is worth using in education.

Twitter: I don’t get it, but I’m using it, seeing if there is something there worth using. I like some of what it offers but have yet to find the power in it. Does that make it dumb, or time consuming? Maybe, but my “Friends” and I are just playing around with it, seeing if there is something there to use. If not it will probably go away like other programs that I’ve signed up for that didn’t serve a purpose to me.

Ning: Is all the rave right now and even though I haven’t found time to actually join any of the new social-networks forming there I’m sure I will. Now, will the networks last? I don’t know, but at this point in time I don’t think that’s the point. The point is trying to make use of this new site. What does it offer us as educators? Does it offer anything worth using in the classroom? Does it have value? It will be interesting to look back in a year and see which Ning-Networks are still alive and which have died.

It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now, and even frustrating when you see all the new things coming at us. But isn’t that why we’re here? To try and make sense of all this stuff. I’m completely overwhelmed at the moment. Needing to join this group and that group. But that’s OK, because it’s part of the learning process.

What we need to do, is learn to let go. Our students are good at this. Just look at the current migration from Myspace to Facebook. Or from one gaming system to the next. Our students understand that with rapid change comes a growing pile of programs and sites that didn’t make the cut. Now I’m not saying any of these are in that category yet, but you just don’t know what will take off, so you join everything. I just think of all the wiki’s that have been created for this and for that, that no longer get visitors. It’s part of the growing pains, part of why we’re here. We’re the front runners in the edtech world, it’s our job to sift through these sites, programs, networks to find out which ones are worth implementing in our schools, and using in our classrooms.

Basically we are educational technology researchers trying to determine what works, and were we want to go. So even though we don’t get it…it’s OK. You don’t need to do it all, allow your network to do it for you. I’m not joining every group, just one or two and I’ll allow others in my PLN (Personal Learning Network) to try others and have them report back on their blogs how things are going.

I think we forget sometimes we don’t need to know it all, we just need to know where to go to know it all. :)

[tags]21st Century Learning[/tags]

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5 Comments

  1. “Not getting it ” was precicely the reason I got a Facebook account in the first place. When my students told me email was “dead” I knew that if wanted to understand the students I was teaching I should jump into their world. Myspace, facebook and the lot are places kids today feel comfortable and it is one of the many ways they interact with their friends. Our job as educators should be to let them know that when there is an audience there also comes responsibility.

    sounds like a good “conversation” waiting to happen.

  2. Agreed. Justin brings up the right point: The “responsibility” we have is to teach responsible use.

    We play with stuff all the time, exploring, trying to determine the educational worth. It may be something that doesn’t work out, but it may be something we embrace…blogging was this to us once.

  3. > We don’t get it, we’re not suppose to get it, but we need to learn it.

    No, we need to get it – if only to the extent of being able to tell the difference between new technologies that are genuinely disruptive, and new technologies that are merely flavours of the technorati moment.

    The question you have to ask of any technology is: if you started using it now, would you still be using it in a year? Would your friends? Would your children and students?

  4. I’m with The Steven on this one.

    “The question you have to ask of any technology is: if you started using it now, would you still be using it in a year? Would your friends? Would your children and students?”

    The answers to these questions don’t come fast, easy, or cheap. And they’re not universal. And they’re not immutable.

  5. Personally I don’t “get it” in terms of any technology until I’ve had a chance to see it in action, play with it, think about it, talk about it, see what else I can make it do, and make connections to my own set of circumstances.

    This process is part of the “literacy” Toffler talks about in his much quoted line from “Rethinking the Future”:

    “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

    The way to “getting it”?

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