Inoculation reaction

I spent an hour at the doctor’s last Tuesday – I needed to follow up on some medication and talk to him about getting shots for our upcoming trip to Bogotá, Colombia. The conversation was fine until he said, “You need to have your Hepatitis A and B and your flu shot and your pneumo-vac.” That’s 4 … count them … 4 shots. I don’t have a serious aversion to shots, but I’m not drawn to them either.

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So I gritted my teeth and made small talk with the nurse while she finished her pin cushion business. I awoke the next morning with two sore arms – no biggie. As the day went on my flu shot arm got more achy; by the time I got home at 4:00 I was running a fever. That lasted for a couple of days, then went into a full-blown head cold. Do you feel sorry for me yet? That’s not my purpose for the details – nor is it my purpose to start a discussion of the positives and negatives of vaccinations.

I do think we need to look at this question, Are we inoculating our faculty/teachers against using technology? When we get that vaccine we get a dead form of the bug, most of the time; just enough that our bodies react against it and build an immunity. Are we giving teachers so many choices – just like my 4 shots – that they are reacting against technology use?

I’ve noticed that my Twitter group keeps coming up with all the latest and greatest web tools and toys – I love being in with the innovators (I’m an early adopter). Many of them work with faculty – so my question is, How do you decide what to introduce your faculty to? When do you know when to stop introducing new tools?

Last year, a colleague and I presented many, many, many Web 2.0 tools at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators (IL-TCE). We used the shotgun method and let the participants decide later what they needed to master. This year, we’ll present on one thing, blogging – it’s time for more depth; time to focus and reduce the noise of too many choices.

I don’t want to inoculate my colleagues and mentees from technology – I want to get them excited about it all. How do we balance our approaches? Let me know what you think.

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4 thoughts on “Inoculation reaction

  1. “Are we innoculating our faculty/teachers against using technology?” I think we ARE! After spending the past couple of weeks thinking about my C & I Final Project – Professional Development Seminar – I’ve concluded that at some point you reach not only saturation of possibilities, but saturation of workability. In other words, I most definitely think that teachers can become overwhelmed with the possibilities. What should we do? Should we skip the archaic Powerpoint presentation all together? Should we blog? Should we wiki? Should we ???

    From my experience as a teacher in a very small district with many older teachers, I think it has become information overload. It is easier to shut down than listen to the latest and greatest and try to learn it all. At some points in time, it is too difficult to master the basics – the website maintenance, the student management program, etc. I firmly believe that one skill at a time in a simplified manner is the way to go.

  2. I didn’t realize this, but I’ve decided the time to stop introducing new tools is now. As an early adopter, I get too excited about this stuff, because I already know what it can do. When a new tool comes out, my first reaction is often “finally! I’ve been waiting for that!” But they’re not “waiting for that”. They’re still typing URLs into the Google search box. They’ve got 12:00 flashing on the VCR. They think “Skype” is a typo.

    My plan is to go back to the pedagogy, the basic questions. What do you want to achieve? Then, how can we achieve that online?

  3. Yes, Cheri..I agree with you, but disappointed that I do. I was so excited to bring wikis to teachers, but the few who jumped on board have done little with their sites. Constraints on time limit tech practice and classroom implementation–the result: techatrophy (new word). Rather than feeling good about what they have achieved or learned or asking for help to plan or manage what they could do, they become overwhelmed by what isn’t happening and in primal self-defense, turn aside.

    So, I, too have learned a lesson. Baby steps. I must temper enthusiasm in personal experience knowing that the possibilities of technology are equally invigorating and paralyzing.

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