Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself

No - I am not talking about Jenn's book reading/blogging binge. Grins! I am very jealous that (1) she was able to get through those professional books and (2) was able to post about them. Sadly- I am ready to make another Amazon book order and can only choose one.....

Instead - I am talking about something that has been the topic of recent posts from me lately, only I have never been brave enough to label what I was talking about here as "fear." Jeff Utecht does though - and offers a great challenge in a recent post:

"I have two more trainings coming up this next week, and the first thing I am going to ask all my teachers to do is to click on something they have always wondered about, always thought “What would happen if….”. I will be in the room to pull them out of the way if their computer explodes. But I want to try and bring them to a place that allows them to explore their machines, allows them for just a minute to be supported as they explore their new technology. We don’t explore enough, we know the programs we know and that’s what we know. As Educational Technology Leaders we must support teachers, parents, and students to expand there thinking on what computers can do. To, like this father, hold them up and all them to bang away for away and see what happens. Without the support they will never do it, they do not know this tool the way a 10 year old does, we are immigrants in a foreign land. We go where we are comfortable, where others like us go to gather: Word, Excel, Publisher." (Bolded text was done by me.)

Fear is a pretty strong word - but I think it nicely summarizes what we feel with these new technologies. And it isn't just the fear of having your computer explode in front of you or of losing all your data. It is the fear that you might be held accountable in some way for what you have written. I have read blog posts where folks have pulled their blogs and made them private because they did not have tenure or their administration did not like what they were writing and they could never be completely anonymous. And blogs where folks change their taglines to include a disclaimer that the thoughts contained do not reflect those of the district (although after reflection that tag was changed.) And at a recent workshop - a teacher asked how to word a disclaimer on a wiki that the sites they sent them to might lead to other sites that might not be "appropriate."

We work so hard in our region to take down the classroom doors, to promote reflection and collaboration, to learn and grow from the wisdom and experience of our colleagues. Technology seems to be the perfect fit for this - yet it also seems to be a tremendous barrier. Or is it?


Jennifer said...

I just had a horrible flash of someone clicking a search for something . . . off-color on the web. Have a great week!

Theresa G said...

Seems only fair as I wrestle with these ideas to share what others are saying about a similar subject.
Gary Stager provides some historical perspective and
Stephen Downes replies in a lengthy post. Very thought provoking reads and somewhat intimidating - but nonetheless, something to chew on!