Monday, January 28, 2013

Don't take the basics for granted

I understand that there is a certain amount of technophobia when presenting to a group of teachers. (There was even an article on EdWeek about technophobia in 2007.

The article talks about how if we let fear dictate our actions, we will never grow and change. I am all for that. We need to push the envelope and encourage innovations and creation, both in teachers and students. But we cannot make pushing the envelope a push off of the cliff.

When I would present to a group of teachers that had a high level of technophobia, I would begin with the simple question of "How do you break a computer?". The group is always taken aback by this question and eventually, someone will raise their hand and off the suggestion of "With a baseball bat?". I would congratulate them and tell them that a baseball bat is definitely one way to break a computer. This would break the ice and people would then start getting REALLY creative: push it out a window, pour acid on it, strap it to a sumo wrestler's stomach...

Once we had a few laughs, I would then ask the question of "Where is the button that you can hit that will delete everything on your computer"? People's ears perked up because they wanted their innate fears justified...(i.e. I KNEW that there was a button like that...). Once we dissuaded all of those fears, we could then start getting into the ideas of change.

The big thing to remember, once we got into the training on the nuts and bolts, was never to take the basics for granted. We need to remember this when dealing with our adult learners and our young learners. Let's keep our composure when anyone asks a question and remember, in most cases, that someone asks the question, they are seeking an honest answer.

Some of the most common questions:
  • How do I save this?
  • What is my login?
  • Where is this file?
  • What report do I need?
  • Can you send me my password?
  • What do I do next?
It is important to be open and inviting with people and do not roll your eyes or sigh. Even when someone asks "Does a right click mean I have to use my right hand?" (I have had to clarify that) or any of these.

As educators, we do not always have to give the actual answer, but we can direct them on how to solve their own problems.

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