Two things coming together

I ran across this quote on D’Arcy Norman’s post on risk taking:

“You don’t learn anything from repeating what you know, in affect, so I keep trying to make (the process) uncertain. The nature of the photographic process – it is about failure. Most everything I do doesn’t quite make it. The failures can be intelligent; nothing ventured nothing gained. Hopefully you’re risking failing every time you make a frame.”

– Gary Winogrand, in an interview with Bill Moyers (1982)

After spending much of class time on Tuesday talking to my doc students about the effects on them of the chaos I’ve pushed them into (see the mud pictures from an earlier post), this quote makes even more sense. It puts my thinking and approach into a succinct statement that I’ve shortened and put on the bottom of my email – You don’t learn anything from repeating what you know … so I keep trying to make (the process) uncertain. Gary Winogrand

Then today as I was looking through my feeds, Darren Kuropatwa’s blog caught my eye. I followed a couple of his links and found this picture:


I like the “I’ll keep pushing myself. There’s always some way to do it better” statement. There is … I’m always looking for a better way to do things. I really am willing to take risks. Maybe it has to do with my PE and coaching background … maybe it’s left over courage from the ropes course and the rappelling wall at T Bar M Camp in 1989 … now that was scary, but I did it. As a counselor we had to complete both and then learn how to spot for one another – so that’s double the risk-taking. Maybe it was the tri-athlons I did in the 80’s and 90’s … the 12 hours cycling tours last summer. Or … maybe it’s just my nature. I don’t give up and I want to make my performance/output/ teaching to be better with each attempt. I think it’s all related.

We also talked on Tuesday about their experiences in our class wiki. The issue of trust came up and I thought, should we have done some trust exercises before they started on the wiki? Something to think about in the future. They didn’t want to change one anothers’ posts – didn’t want to step on each others’ toes. Great conversation about the wiki culture.

Lastly, we spent time talking about questions like, Why do educators like staying in their comfort zones [or the Amateur Zone as show in the above image]? Why don’t educators (on all levels) embrace technology? What does it take to convince educators to learn the technology and match it with good pedagogy?

All great questions … we’re still working on the answers. Anyone out there have any ideas?


3 thoughts on “Two things coming together

  1. As a product of a traditional educational system, I find that there is an underlining fear of being “wrong” which is reinforced by a system rooted in grades. From an early age I remember my self afflicted anxiety of being “wrong” which weighed on my mind rather then the excitement of learning. I believe this same fear of being “wrong” coupled with the thought that a good potion of the classroom teaching population like me graduated typing our papers, rather than using a word processing program, is an issue that arises when faced with integrating technology into a traditional curriculum. I can only speak for my district but, there doesn’t seem to be an incentive to utilize technology therefore, why would a person worried about being “wrong” and who has been successful in what is still a pretty traditional educational system want to take the leap and use the technology available today?

  2. Karla,

    You’re idea of being “wrong” really keeps us from taking risks. I wonder how much of this has to do with “training”; how much has to do with personality; how much has to do with learned helplessness.

  3. Cheri,
    Good point! I think you are right in that there is more then just “training” that influences the choices a teacher makes in how and whether they use technology in their classroom. I also think you are correct adding learned helplessness into the equation as it definitely impedes some in their use of technology. But, isn’t the learned helplessness we are discussing a product of teacher rather then student focused learning?

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