Bass ackwards tech planning?

My colleague and good friend, Dr. Jon Becker, has a new blog, Educational Insanity, that’s worth checking out. Here are some excerpts from a recent post on technology planning:

There have been many great sports coaches who were successful based on a “system” they installed. . . . I think educational leaders/policymakers are guilty of installing systems without regard to the personnel. . . . In other words, the “systems” have been installed and the leaders are then forced to try to fit the personnel into the system. . . . Make the system fit the team, not vice versa.

FYI, Jon’s post references the allegedly nightmarish technology implementation at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA, which is the school that my two sisters attended (before the tech makeover / building remodel!) and also is the basis for the movie, Remember the Titans.

Happy reading!

One Response to “Bass ackwards tech planning?”

  1. I posted this to Dr. Becker’s blog as well.

    As a technology administrator, this is a very difficult conversation for me everytime I have it.

    The sports analogy works in some ways for me, but does not in others. Teaching is a little more individual then most team sports. In football, we wouldn’t let the offensive tackle make a lot of individual choices on how to perform his job, and if he isn’t following a very prescribed set of instructions, he probably gets to sit on the bench. In teaching, this is quite a bit different in my opinion as there may be very different approaches based upon the teacher and each individual learner. So, I cannot quite use the sports analogy in my discussions.

    But, I agree with Jon and Rick that we absolutely aim at the wrong target sometimes; the “stuff”. It is the same mistake we make when we examine teaching instead of looking at learning as a focus (Ok… we teach in hopes that learning will take place, but there are no guarantees and no one-to-one relationships between the two; each can move independently of the other).

    Learning and technology are similar in my mind, each can occur independently of each other. We can have oodles of technology, and very poorly designed learning environments, and the opposite is true as well, in my opinion. Some of the most powerful learning happens absent of technology.

    With that foundation in mind, it seems incredibly ill advised to take a top down model to technology implementations. The “build it and they will come” mentality really means:
    “Build it and some might use it and there is no guarantee that it will be used effectively, and we will all be too busy to measure whether or not it is being used effectively, because we never bought it with a teaching or learning outcome in mind in the first place, so we have no idea how to measure what we see, because we don’t know what to look for, but we get to say we have it so we are doing better than our neighbor next door, and we can say we are meeting the needs of the natives (I hate that term, by the way) but what we don’t know is that they don’t need the exposure to technology anyway, but they need to be better thinkers in the first place, which by the way, has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do very human processes which are internal to us as thinking and cognitive beings.” How is that for a run-on sentence?

    Maybe I am getting a little cynical in my not-so-old-yet age.

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