A thoughtful response

I was delighted to see Miguel Guhlin’s fictional response last week to Anne Davis’ draft letter requesting permission to use Flickr in a hypothetical school district. The brilliant part of Miguel’s letter was not his reasoned iteration of Flickr’s weaknesses. Rather, it was the list of alternatives that Miguel provided that might possibly satisfy both the teacher’s desires as well as the district’s concerns.

As noted in the comments to Miguel’s blog post, most administrators would be hard-pressed to craft such a thoughtful response. Most leaders in formal positions of authority (i.e., superintendents and/or principals) are not familiar enough with technology in general and with Web 2.0 tools specifically. Many of the folks who may have the requisite technology knowledge, such as technology coordinators or CTOs, either don’t have enough the educational background to effectively respond to the teacher’s instructional concerns or are so busy that they’re likely to just dash off a quick note of denial without further explanation.

We need more model communications like this. We also need to expose our school leaders to such models so that they can get a sense of what is out there and how they can effectively and appropriately respond to the technology tool issues that are arising in our schools.

Does anyone know of other exchanges like this one that would be good models for preservice and/or practicing administrators?

2 Responses to “A thoughtful response”

  1. You’re too nice…you know, one of the things no one picked up on–or at least, commented about–was the fact that it was written so oppressively. Maybe I was too subtle, but I was shooting for negative association with trying to use these tools. You know, if you have time to be doing this, then you aren’t a good teacher. That’s a whole other aspect that isn’t addressed in conversations…and one I’d forgotten about until I began to craft the response.

    On a serious note, if someone would craft sample requests like Anne’s, I’d be happy to knock ’em down from an administrator’s point of view or find a different approach.


    How could we re-frame these types of requests to be more positive? Anne tried, but since Flickr is essentially indefensible because of its inappropriateness, no way.

    Seldom serious,

  2. Well, your last paragraph might be a little harsh, but the alternatives you presented her above sounded just fine, I think. I confess I was so taken by the material above that I didn’t catch your heavy-handedness in the last paragraph ’til I read it again just now.

    It seemed to me like Anne’s request was fairly positive. She sees certain curricular objectives (or, if our curriculum is too limited when it comes to thinking about Web 2.0 tools, life objectives) that can be accomplished via Flickr and similar sites. I think many of us would agree that exposing students to tools like Flickr which are perhaps more “safe” for a K-12 environment is probably a good thing for schools to do. At least then we have an opportunity to shape the conversation / thinking about appropriate use.

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