Agree to Disagree. For now.

IMG_1647
It looked much more blue in person, I swear!

On a walk with my husband, I pointed out how odd it was to have a light blue car.

“What?! That car is clearly white, Randi.”

“Noooo, that one is white. This one is light blue.”

We stopped to take pictures of each car to further examine this difference of opinion in “better” lighting at home.

IMG_1648
The very white car, for comparisons sake.

 

the dress
PHOTO: HTTP://SWIKED.TUMBLR.COM/

This timely debate ironically occurred during the Great Dress Debatewhich I had read about that morning on Glennon’s Momastry Blog. She calls this dress The BEST peacemaking tool she’s seen in a while. As interesting as the science is around why the dress is seen differently, the part of this debate (as Glennon mentions) that stands out, is the need to adjust our communication skills to allow for a space in the middle where we can give value to another point of view, but disagree politely.

Because the job of a technology integrationist heavily relies on the relationships you build with teachers, I give special attention to these types of lessons.

I recently had a conversation with a colleague who is frustrated by many of the new technologies I have suggested for use in his history class. After reading a post by Ann Durham, Adjust or Go Home, I was inspired to point out that he has an international fearlessness that he doesn’t apply to his technology use.  He argued that he is not a ‘bandwagon’ kind of guy and that the tools I am showing him will be “in and back out” in a flash. While I admit that the education system on the whole does cycle through way too many bandaid approaches, the use of technology to access, share, and create resources beyond the walls of school is here to stay. But… sensing his increased frustration, I instead listened and accepted his point of view (while politely disagreeing).

I believe that if we teachers don’t begin to update our teaching methods to provide a 21st century pedagogy, we will be outdated, irrelevant, and out of a job in the near future. Although this is my belief, I know that many people need to see and experience the value of these changes before they go through the trouble of learning them. Doing old things in new ways with a tech tool here and there, does not show the real value of technology to a teacher. But then, how can I make a believer out of one who won’t try?

This question, reminded me of a conversation with John Burns, Director of Innovation at Shekou International School. He advised me to start with the early adopters, the ‘LEADers’ of the group and showcase their work and accomplishments in order to bring the ‘wood be doing’ folks on board.

So, although I hate to skirt a good debate, after reading and reflecting this week, the path is clear. My best method for teachers who are not yet convinced that technology (used in the right way!) would add value to their classroom practices, is to showcase the results of the teachers in our school who already have an Innovator’s Mindset. At this point in our school, there is still room to politely disagree about using tools to flatten walls and globally connect – but that is changing.

Our minds are built to make sense of the world using our surroundings. Just like our minds interpreted the dress color differently, those of us who have been teaching a long time with ‘tried and true’ practices are still interpreting our classroom and students’ results as a success. But what they don’t see is that even though students passed their memorization and paper/pencil tests, they will enter higher education or the workforce at a disadvantage because they are without 21st Century Solution Fluencies.

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Agree to Disagree. For now.”

  1. ahhhhh the infamous gold/white/black/blue dress. Its definitely gold and white! At least that’s what I see.
    I can understand your colleague’s frustration with technology. Reason being, recently I recorded a video of my students on the iPad and went to upload it and nothing. I tried attaching it to my laptop via USB cord, uploading it to Youtube, emailing it to myself but nothing. Eventually I was able to upload it only after downloading the Youtube app, which took forever, and then uploading it. The iPad is a new tech tool for me. It would’ve been so much easier, faster and less frustrating to record the video on my Galaxy S4 and a upload it by just attaching the USB cord to my laptop. Quick, easy and to the point.
    We are in agreeance in the fact that if we don’t update our teaching methods, we will be labeled outdated. After reading ‘Shaping Tech for the Classroom’ the statement “If we want to move the useful adoption of technology forward, it is crucial for educators to learn to listen, to observe, to ask, and to try all the new methods their students have already figured out, and do so regularly” reminds me of an early article that also referenced listening and learning from these 21 century students.
    So I read Kim Cofino’s article ‘A Step by Step Guide to Global Collaboration’ and thought it as very relevant and then realized it was published in 2007! Which makes me realize the authentic use of technology is a far cry from a bandaid approach.
    Technology comes with its frustrations, but through trial and error it will serve a greater purpose in the classroom.

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    1. These thoughts have gone full circle! They started by reading a CoETaIL blog called “Adjust, or Go Home,” which inspired me to have a conversation with a teacher (the blog above), that I mentioned to Bruce, who spoke at our staff meeting where you were moved to write a CoETaIL blog! Sorry about your YouTube frustrations – but the good news is it only takes one struggle like that and you know how to do it for next time. Another parallel to international travel! I know I tell you this a lot, but you really are a rock star!

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  2. Randi, I couldn’t agree more! I really think that it is hard for a lot of people to think about new ways to teach. Sometimes even when you showcase amazing work, there are always people who will come up with reasons that it is either impossible or not really amazing. So, there will be some people who will always only ever be stubborn. Eventually, there will be fewer and fewer of them just through natural attrition. We are in an interesting time because of that. I actually think that it makes me more innovative when I am trying to convince colleagues of the possibilities!

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