I've been reading some of Dean Groom's stuff and spending a lot of time nodding and mentally saying "Uh huh." His thoughts and much of what I encounter from others in similar roles in their online writing makes me feel less isolated and less inclined to label myself as the "weirdo" or "oddball" out of step with reality.
But I just know that more than a few of my colleagues are convinced that I am not normal and that this over-obsession with all things digital is a good starting point for proof.
Here's some more evidence fuelling their opinion:
- He says he doesn't watch much TV or even read daily newspapers.
- He walks around with strange gadgets - over gigabyted USB drives, recording devices, PDAs, heck even my school laptop is some strange tablet PC contraption.
- He seems to work things out for himself by playing with technology (Won't he break something? Doesn't he need instructions? Shouldn't he be doing real work?)
- He uses weird words like blog, wiki, twitter, network, skype, slideshare, unconference - does any normal person know what he's on about?
- He volunteers to speak and present at conferences (as if he has worthwhile to say) but says he gets bored sitting in the audience at them.
- He's even Googled his own name!
- He interacts with weird strangers online and then he goes to meet them. Hasn't he heard of stranger danger?
- And he gets frustrated that we aren't all as interested obsessed as he is about this whole internet thing - says that we'll all be irrelevant or something if we don't get involved.
Just like this Dean Groom fella, my colleagues probably figure that this would be my point of view as well.
But herein lies the problem. We want them to use it, so access is made easy. PD is offered, but suffers from the power distribution law syndrome where a few, do most, most of the time. Teachers know that they can set some task - say a video - but don’t need to ‘learn’ to use it personally - they don’t go through the student experience - so a guessing at the value of the activity at best. They assume that the ‘digital natives’ will just get on with it - else the IT people or computing staff will be the ‘go to’ people for the students. We accept this, and of course help the kids as we figure at least the kids are using technology.
And they'd probably be right. Maybe I am wrong. This internet obsession thing might all be a lot of hot air and I'm wasting my time right now.
But that means so are you.