Technology is intimidating

Technology is only intimidating if you are under pressure to use it and perform. It is a horrid experience to not know what you are doing and to stand before a lump of plastic with connections and feel spectacularly inadequate. I have  never had a fear of technology and if I am confronted with something I don’t understand I just press, tap, click , look…I especially look, until I see what happens and understand it. I was lucky in my formative years as a teacher I was in a school which enthusiastically embraced technology. So, in the mid seventies, we had visits from the Scotch company who showed us what would have been the first CDs and DVDs. Shiny disks which went into a machine and showed blurry video pictures. It was exciting and an eye opener. To be able to take on technology in an educational context you need the play time. You need the experts . You need an approach where you are encouraged to improve your competencies without feeling threatened. More than that you need discovery and talk time. We had OHPs to play with, pneumatic (:S) video players which quickly became VHS machines. We had film projectors which we had to get a licence to run and machines which projected images onto the wall. I remember getting students to enlarge German Snoopy cartoons with these and we had a wall of great  cartoon images which practised our German and involved us in active learning. Technology is functional but when you have time to explore it you do discover all the creative things it can do and the other options for functionality. The sales will come of themselves if people are allowed to discover what is available by way of gadgets and can spend time in an environment where experts are enthusiastic about what technological devices can do. Again it is about collaborating and sharing. Teachers need this opportunity too because as they look and learn they will also be thinking up a million ways to employ that tool.

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