Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Teachers’ survival kit in techland

Welcome to The Matrix. Which pill are you going to take?

Neo (The Matrix)

1. Teacher basic profiles: know your colleagues.

  1. The expert: he’s up-to-date all the time and knows great solutions for your tech problems. He also looks forward to sharing strategies with you. Stick to him, but don’t bother him too much with your doubts.
  2. The survivor: not an expert but he tries hard and know basic things as he’s realized about the importance of tech in school. Besides he doesn’t want to fall back as he sees his colleagues improving. Collaborate with him.
  3. The runner: doesn’t know much and doesn’t want to know. He escapes from any attempts from his school to get involved in tech projects, and he’ll even try to sabotage them. Bet you’ll find him criticizing the expert. Avoid him at all cost.

10. New technologies must serve education, and not the other way around

Technology applied to Education has to be: easy, clean, straightforward and effective, among many other positive characteristics. Don’t even try to be a magician or a funambulist. If some tech solution imposes too many constraints then it’s badly designed, its interface is not good, or it hasn’t any pedagogic basis. Discard it.

11. A good approach usually involves a combination of different tools.

Some teachers love brands blindly. If they like something they just exclusively use it while they detract other things. Avoid it.

Visualize edtech as a puzzle. Pieces won’t make the picture, but don’t force the assembling.

100. Pedagogy is the key, technology must just be subdued to it.

Clear enough, isn’t it? Many can’t see as clearly.

101. Aesthetics, the red ribbon.

It’s demonstrated: humans are attracted by colorful things. We’re similar to bees flying about looking for flowers. A mediocre but beautiful resource can attract more people than a good but ugly one. So, look for the best mixture: good and beautiful (and cheap!).

110. Beware of buzzwords.

Don’t get mesmerized by buzzing things. A stupid thing goes on being just that, even if it’s supported by millions of people. Be critical, check their presence on the Internet (read my other article Tracking down buzzwords) and use your common sense (not so common nowadays).

111. Don’t expect things to come out as you planned. Contingency plans are mandatory.

WIFIs not functioning, viruses wiping computers out, password related problems, incompatibility affairs, students cheating on you… Have a plan B with some offline resources, or move to plan C and take out the scrolls.

1000. Be open-minded, be skeptical, be all together.

Being a tech fan teacher doesn’t mean you have to try everything. Give it a try to proven tools, and a fast try to the new ones. And, most important, keep the whole picture in mind.

1001. Be up-to-date.

In this new changing world the meaning of “stuck in the past” could be a matter of just 1 month. Being deranked from expert to newbie is easier than ever.

1010. Socialize.

Many people have already done what you want to go about. Ask them, check social networks, it’ll be faster than investigating on your own.

1011. Track, measure, come to a conclusion and rearrange.

Keep a record of your tools, their uses and results. Quantitative measures do help in the process. Isn’t that the famous quality control system?

1100. Think about the future.

Play the sage and forecast the future, Einstein style. Hidden realms of the mind suddenly overflow when they are excited.

...more to come.