This is a picture of the Mobile Quarantine Facility built by NASA for astronauts returning from the Moon. It’s basically a modified Airstream trailer. The idea was to isolate the astronauts until it was determined that they didn’t have ‘moon germs.’ Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins stayed in this quarantine trailer for 65 hours after their return to Earth (Welcome back, heroes. Get in this trailer!).
Of course my pathetic brain saw this and immediately started thinking about educational technology. How sad is that?!
This MQF (gotta love those government acronyms!) got me thinking about whether we technology early adopters need a self-imposed moratorium on talking about new technology tools, at least in certain settings. One of the most common refrains heard from teachers or administrators who listen to us talk or blog about all of these new cool tools is “Why do I care about this as an educator?” In our eagerness to share our nearly-palpable glee and excitement, we often struggle to adequately answer the “So what?” question in ways that are substantive and meaningful to the average teacher or administrator.
So when a new tool comes out – Twitter, Diigo, whatever – maybe we should hold off for a bit before we start blabbing to educators who don’t live as close to the ed tech edge as we do. Maybe we should voluntarily follow a process that looks something like this:
I believe that an emphasis on pilot testing, experimentation, and identification of both mainstream educator use(s) and optimal training mechanisms before introduction to other educators often would help us quite a bit. Instead of turning off the very educators that we want using many of these tools, some time spent in the ed tech quarantine might go a long way toward facilitating our overall goal of greater technology adoption in K-12 classrooms.
I don’t know if I’ve gotten the quarantine process exactly right. And of course many of you already do some version of this. But I think this is a concept that generally should be kept closer to the forefront of our brains. What do you think?