I was extremely surprised to read the ISTE Update and see myself quoted from my Twitter feed:
From Bob Abrams: When creating a tech vision, impulse is to grab the early adopters. Flip your thinking. Involve the late adopters to minimize fear
Seeing this quote tweet again got me thinking as I was presenting yesterday at the T21 Conference at Illinois State University. If you don't know about it, T21 is a free conference put on by ISU and is intended for pre-service teachers to learn about current practices and future trends about technology integration in instruction. This year was slightly different as the conference has expanded dramatically from 1 room in 2010 to taking over multiple rooms and floors of the Bone Student Center and having a great keynote by Jonathan Bergmann.
During the conference I reminded teachers to just be willing to try something new and from someone on my Twitter feed, I was reminded that the questions that we ask matter.
" @misterabrams It really is all about the questions we ask!@Leadershipfreak: Ask, "What did we learn?" NOT "What went wrong?" "
The power of our language is almost immeasurable...until you use the wrong language. As leaders in education and technology, we need to constantly be aware of the language we use and COACH teachers by working with them and letting them discover what might work and what might not. Funny, the same holds true for working with students...
But I digress, there are many times that we need to fight our natural instincts. Whenever we introduce a new technology product or concept, we often want to run to the people we know are early adopters to show them how cool, useful, and productive this tool can be...FIGHT THIS INSTINCT! The early adopters are going to do this anyway. The people we should approach first, with the coaching approach and language, are those people who say that they are not proficient in technology. If we bring in the late adopters first, we can help minimize their fear and apprehension and provide them with the most time to play and explore! How awesome would it be to have someone who says that they are not good with technology to show off their creation to the rest of the staff?!
Between the early and late adopters of technology, we will be able to create that critical core of people needed to initiate the change. In many of our approaches, we continue to follow past practices and get similar results. Take that all important step of reflection and metacognition. When possible and optimal, flip your thinking and look at the situation from a new perspective. You never know what you might be able to see...