Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flying Closer to the Sun!

As we fly closer to the sun, we sometimes feel closer to the light, but we sometimes feel closer to the heat.

It seems to me that this year more than ever, I am becoming more and more aware of the fact that there are two sides to every situation: a positive and a negative.

Here are a few examples:

Providing more tools to teachers is increasing their ability to use technology effectively. It is also causing them more stress and making our access issues for students more apparent.

Using student response devices across our district is increasing our ability to deliver formative assessments quickly and easily. It is also leading to some headaches when students break them or lose them or teachers find the one thing they can't do.

Using Google Apps for Educators is increasing our ability to be mobile, to collaborate, to provide students with email accounts, and to create sites. It is also glitchy and causing problems when something doesn't work the way we want it to.

There are so many other examples of software and tools that do much of what we want but not all. For some, they simply focus on the positive and use it for what it is good for. Others say the experience is frustrating when they have to gear the lesson or project to the tool because the tool is limited in terms of what it can do.

In addition, we seem to be stuck between waiting to roll out new tools and ideas until everything is just so and building our parachute on the way down. On the one hand, we want everyone to have a great experience. On the other, we want to begin having the experience before we retire. We want to have answers to all the questions people might have. But, we can't possibly predict all the issues that might arise. We want to wait until the glitches are worked out, but then a new tool is discovered and we start the process over again.

So much of my time is spent providing the counterpoint to the heat seekers. "Don't forget about the light! Isn't it beautiful?" I am starting to wonder if we have just flown a bit too close and now the heat is overpowering a few of us.

I know there must be a balance here but it is an elusive balance. Miss it by even a little and you get burned... or blinded.

Think I will buy everyone some sunglasses and sunblock and go back to work.

*Images thanks to and