Reflections post-#edchat 11/17

If you’ve taken part in today’s #edchat, you know we discussed about how to motivate teachers who are resistant to technology to initiate in this world to benefit their learners. If you haven’t participated, well, you just read the topic. As the conversation is just over, I still need to organize my thoughts, but there are a couple of things I feel I should write down (even if I write another post contradicting this one later).

1. I still believe the most important thing is listening to and responding to your learners’ needs. If you try to impose on them something which is not part of their reality, you’ll end up getting nowhere. A student of mine mentioned once, ‘we only make use of what our friends are making use.’ It’s the old idea of tribes, or we could also put it in other words: Great minds think alike.

2. We are living the age of information (or am I misinformed?), and one of the key skills we need is filtering what is applicable to our context. The fact that we can discuss with educators from all over the world through #edchat is indeed awesome. But we are talking to people who might not have a clue of what we have to face in our own teaching situation. We need to learn how to read critically, just as we want our learners to do.

3. I’ve seen great educators walk into a classroom equipped with laptops, Internet, TV, and what have you, not make use of any of these, but still succeeding in teaching their learners. Not only that, but usually the students wouldn’t trade these teachers’ classes for any other class in which teachers made large use of technology. Why is that? Tech is just another tool. It might be a very effective one in the hands of a teacher who knows how to use it, but it can squash students’ motivation in the hands of those who only rely on it. TEACHERS HAVE TO BE RESOURCEFUL. Funny anecdote on that? There was once a power shortage in the whole city. The lessons started at 2 pm, and there were lots of large windows in the classroom. Teaching wasn’t a problem. Suddenly, a teacher says, ‘Oh my! I had such a wonderful class ready on PPT.’ Upon hearing this, another teacher replied, ‘It is now that we can see the difference between good teachers and great teachers.’ If teachers are not resourceful, they’re bound to miss the point more often than not. Be careful not to let the tail wag the dog. (Granted: apart from being an enthusiast and a believer in the power of technology in the classroom, I strongly agree with Dogme. There it is!)

4. The Internet is not the only place to keep learning. I’ve just talked to highly respected people in their own fields of education about their use of Twitter, blogs, wikis and alike. Their answer was a mere, ‘Hmm… people in my area usually communicate through scientific magazines, journals and articles.’ Even though most of these are online these days, they’d still rather write an article to comment on what they read instead of posting a comment. Appalling? I guess it all boils down to point #1. If the people in their circle isn’t making use of these tools, they’re useless. The important thing is communication, regardless of the chosen means.

Well, I guess these four points will get me started. Maybe I’ll change my mind tomorrow after re-reading this post, or after some comments. Any thoughts???

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