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Push comes to shove: it is noise

April 4, 2007


The dissemination of IT PD and IT integration and best practice ideas should be based on “Demand” or “Need” rather than merely “Supply” of what’s available.

Demand or Need Driven IT Integration:
How can IT serve your most pressing needs in your classroom?
What do you want to accomplish in your classroom? …in this lesson or unit?
…only later. Let’s see how IT can help you reach those goals.

Supply Driven IT Integration:
Ideas and information is pushed out to people and mostly received as “noise.”

Robert McLaughlin

Having heard Robert over a skype conversation and then three of my colleagues hear him sharing his views again at the ECISIT conference in Düsseldorf has had us all thinking and realizing the importance of maybe re-evaluating our approach to information technology integration.

There is no doubt as an IT Specialists that for us we want people to move in certain directions embracing the power of IT pedagogy and tools, us working with these daily quickly understand and value how these can enhance the student’s learning experience. To be honest so do most people if you sit them down and give them time to reflect and talk BUT……

the reality is that teachers in an international school setting ( I am not as comfortable making statements about public schools as I do not work in one) are pulled in a million directions, with many different demands placed on them throughout the day, while in tandem they work in educating their students. It is somewhat a competition to get their focus and attention, as they get bombarded with all these tasks, each more pressing than the other, many often disconnected from the specific task to teaching children….. the side effect, is that after a while it all comes in as noise. There is a whole conversation and blog around this, which I will not go into.

Robert’s quote strength is that if we are competing with noise, why bother. Thus the powerful strategy of focusing our attention and support as IT Specialist on areas teachers need help, and this not decided by us, but generate by the teacher themselves. A process where IT Specialists/Tech Departments, engage in a conversation, dialogs with the focus of being the listener, and taking stock of the issues, needs and problems, and from there then in tandem with the teachers buy-in generating specific solutions and goals to support them , with their specific needs. To be blunt we are competing with all other agenda found in a school, and often IT comes as an add on, or something being pushed down the teachers street… I agree with Robert let us stop pushing, let us listen, hear them out, understand, empathize, and then in collaboration with the clear understanding of what they need, support them.

Thanks Robert….maybe many of us feel we have been doing this, or others feel it is the IT Department and Specialist who should be calling the shots… I disagree, why be noise when you can potentially be part of a constructive collaborative model with the teachers needs as the driving force of your support and facilitation.

John @isets.org

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