Thursday, 13 August 2015

Backlash or Implementation Dip?

Are you seeing and hearing a bit of a backlash against the use of digital technologies in our society?

More robust discussions around learning with digital technologies have also been happening in the education sector in recent times.  People are questioning the role of digital technologies because around them they see less face-to-face interactions and more face-to-digital which is disturbing them. It is making them feel uncomfortable.   I have heard people say, we just are losing the ability to communicate with each other.  And yet we are communicating with each other more that ever before. It is just in a digital way.
In the beginning, digital technologies were increasingly seen as some kind of black magic, whizz bang tools for learning.  Some of the comments I heard were
  • Wow, isn't that so cool?
  • It is so amazing.
  • My students will love this.
  • I can't wait to try it out in class.
  • This will really impress the parents  

People did not focus on the "why" then - they were more interested in trying out the whizz bang tools, and excited by the "showmanship" of different fonts, making links, using different apps, making QR codes, altering images, making their own videos, making comic books and ebooks. The list goes on. Confidence grew quickly at the beginning of their journey and now......... new discussion is emerging.

  • Why are we expected to do this?  
  • Why am I spending so many hours learning? 
  • This is taking me away from my regular work.
  • What is the point of connecting and collaborating anyway?
  • I don't have time for this - is it worth it?
  • What evidence is there to show this improves outcomes for my students?
  • I have no connection in my classroom so why should I try?
  • Dont you think there are too many barriers for me?
These are all really good questions and actually, although it has come as a bit of a surprise after all this time, I am glad that educators are actually asking.  Because that is what they should have asked in the beginning.

It feels like a kind of backlash against using digital technologies. Some are actively slagging the use of digital technologies.    I think there are those who are looking for excuses not to use digital technologies.   They are putting barriers in the way rather than trying to remove them.

But actually I think they have struck the implemetation dip. They are in the trough of disillusionment.

It is well documented why we need to change the way we teach.  Our students will be entering the knowledge society instead of the old style industrial model.    We live in an unsettled world. We are entering a future with wicked problems.   Our learners will be expected to work in teams, use connectivity to communicate, collaborate, be critical thinkers, and to be creators.  How are you empowering your student to be ready for these uncertain times ahead?

Can educators really imagine a world without digital technologies now?  Look at the journey you have travelled.  Now that you can see the potential, how can you turn away from empowering your students to be the best digital citizens they can be?

When people tell me that they don't like the effects that digital technologies are having on society, I tell them to get used to it.  I strongly believe that people will do what they need to.  If you have a problem about the way digital technologies are being used in society, work out ways that you can deal with it.  If you need to take control, do it.  But don't expect that digital technologies are going to go away any time soon.

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