As I sat on stage as part of the panel Q&A with the other Microsoft Innovative Education Forum workshop hosts, I wondered what would happen. Apart from immortalising the Movember tash, there were two interesting questions. I’m not aware of the full context of each, nor the full question, but thought I’d share some thoughts here.
I’m too innovative to use Microsoft.
The first question was quite interesting and reminded me of the reverse snobbery that I was surrounded with growing up in the Welsh mining valleys.
My answer was fairly straightforward, and from the point of view of a classroom practitioner and curriculum leader with no interest in selling anyone’s products.
I have witness teachers being innovative with a single piece of paper. One A4 poly pocket. I have been involved in an innovative lesson that used nothing else apart from little architect model people. The message is that you don’t need technology to be innovative.
I don’t see the logic is ruling out any source of technology, funding, inspiration, collaboration, food or help from anywhere. To rule out a suite of tools to me seems mental. In the well worn saying – it’s what the teacher and students do with the technology, not what it is. The learn, not the tech.
An innovative learner (whether teacher or student) will innovate with the tools they have. The experience gained from a few years teaching has taught me that the more whacky and far from the mainstream a tool is, the less likely it is to be widely adopted. We work on 99.9% Windows based machines (the 0.1% being our department’s Macbooks). One of the reasons why VLE’s have failed (in my view) is that they don’t act like the Windows machines that most teachers, pupils and support staff work with and have at home.
Of course, I could (and indeed do) argue for different tools to be provided, but I’d rather direct the energy involved into curriculum development and learning.
Finally, I'd like to echo Stuart Ball’s answer. Partners in Learning focus on the learning and the teachers.
What is your New Year’s technology resolution?
My other would say that it should be to spend no extra money on extra technology.
My resolution is to continue to reach those that don’t want to be reached. It struck me while listening to the other answers, that no matter what I said, the MSIEF (and GTA, BETT, any Teachmeet…….) crowd would be fairly open to what I was going to say. Delegates are there because they are already the converted. But how do we reach those that don’t wish to engage, share, collaborate, open themselves to support (and also criticism)?
I wish I knew the answer!