I have eluded to the fact previously, that I have some reservations about NGL, constructivism and the like. Not because I have a closed mind, far from from it, but because I have a genuine desire to do what’s best for the students in my care. I am not an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person, no ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’ or ‘jumping on the latest bandwagon’ for me…to quote the odd idiom! Perhaps that is why I found this week’s reading by Paul Selwyn deeply reassuring, that it is okay not to be. It is ok to ask questions in an effort to seek knowledge and understanding, rather adopt the more passive path of least resistance. Though experience may have taught me otherwise!
I wonder how many of your have found yourself in the position of “speaking up for, and on behalf of, those voices usually marginalised in discussion of what teaching and education ‘is’ and ‘should be'” (Selwyn, 2014) only to find yourself standing alone? But then “perhaps [there is] little incentive for [people] working in the area of technology and education to ‘rock the boat’ or ‘bite the hand that feeds’” (Selwyn, 2014) – the path of least resistance! Or is it as Duncan-Andrade (2009 as cited in Selwyn, 2014) describes, “‘hokey hope’…a naïve view that somehow things will get better, despite the lack of evidence to warrant this view”!
For a short time I tried to subscribe to just this view, thinking that it would make life easier if I just ‘went along’ and kept my questions and views to myself, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, adopting this quote (all be it with a modern twist) from Max Ehrmann’s famous poem ‘Desiderata’ as my motto-
“Go quietly amidst the noise and haste and remember what peace there is is silence.”
“If nobody ever questioned what is taken for granted in culture, life would become static and without positive change or innovation”.
And this is how I find myself studying again!!
I agree with George Siemens’ statement, “[t]here has been growing creep of ‘rockstar-ism’ in education where we look for ‘the person’ to give us ‘the solution’” (2013 as cited in Sewlyn, 2014) and my experience tells me there is no one size fits all when it comes to technology uptake! What works for one may not work for another. An idea that thrives in one setting may struggle to gain traction in another. The trick is finding out what works best for you. In this sense teaching, though a highly public activity, is also innately private. We each build our own tool kits over years of hard-work and reflection, yet rarely share our struggles. We grappling with which tools to hang onto, and which ones to trade in for new ones which better equip us to do our job. Are we not then all researchers in our own unique ways? Searching for what works, eliminating what doesn’t, testing, evaluating, drawing conclusions based on evidence. No magic wand, no superhero to the rescue…just focused, critical and committed work! The kind of work perhaps, Selwyn is referring to in his article?
So it the path of least resistance doesn’t work for you either, try this quote on for size from Thomas J Watson Snr and have courage to continue to fight the good fight! Ask the questions that need to be asked, even if those you are asking are unsure of the answers.
If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flatten by conformity stays down for good!
At the end of the day, I once again take a great deal away from this week’s challenge. I find renewed comfort in the fact that I do not have to define myself by a single ideology or way of doing things. I can pick and chose what works best for both me and my students, knowing that my decisions are my own, based in ‘research’ and fact, somewhat moulded by circumstance but definitely coloured by my own unique pedagogy…all be it an interesting ‘mash-up’!
“What matters in the end is whether, through our participation in this new trading zone, students’ understanding is deepened, their minds and characters strengthened, and their lives and communities enriched” (Huber & Morreale, 2003 as cited in Marincowitz, 2014)
Marincowitz, M. (2014, September 6). Kool-aid or Absinthe? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://mari4art.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/kool-aid-or-absinthe/
Huber, M. T. & Morreale, S. P. (2002). Situating the scholarship of teaching and learning: A cross-disciplinary conversation. Retrieved September 7, 2014 from http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/elibrary/situating-scholarship-teaching-and-learning-cross-disciplinary-conversation-disciplinary-st [link to original article included for personal reference]
Selwyn, N. (2014). Technology and education – why it’s
crucial to be critical. Retrieved September 7, 2014 from https://www.academia.edu/7771394/Technology_and_education_-_why_its_crucial_to_be_critical
Image created using the Marvel Superhero Mash-up – http://www.hasbro.com/heromashers/en_AU/mash-up.cfm