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Only Connect…

February 22, 2007

Courtesy of Ewan, I’ve sold my soul in exchange for a years free iTunes backup… In order to qualify for the freebie, I had to post a link on the Bandwagon Blog. Being naturally curious, I decided to have a wee look at what others had said about the service and so serendipitous clicking took me to the Langwitches site. Set up by Silvia Tolisano, a Technology Integration Facillitator in Jacksonville, Florida, I really enjoyed having a quick look at what Silvia’s been doing… and if you’re a Languages teacher I thoroughly recommend you visit her site.

One post in particular made me stop and think about how we approach technology as teachers. Silvia, a PC user, has just taken delivery of a new MacBook. Her comments make for interesting reading, as she has highlighted that, despite her evident skills, she is pretty much a newbie with the Mac. Rather than getting frustrated, she says that:

I am more conscious of how someone might feel who does not feel familiar with a computer. It does give me a different point of few, that I will need to have present, when teaching or introducing others to new tools or technologies.

She has highlighted something I think we all need to remember. Many times the things we do and take for granted are not particularly easy, especially for newbies. How often do we actually stop and take stock of what skill-sets our pupils actually possess as opposed to the skill sets we think they possess?

Perhaps it’s time we all made a switch, not of computers, but of perceptions.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2007 5:20 am

    Bang on! Perceptions and realities are two very different things. I often see students, who are supposedly natives to the whole technology life, who do not have the skill sets that are needed to do many of the things that they are asked to do. Like Silvia, they are comfortable within a specific area but lack the skills to truly use many of the tools available. As a person who works in a Windows world but loves my Mac, I have seen the fear that people have when you suggest that they make the switch. The fear, I believe, is that they believe they are entering the unknown without realizing that a computer is a computer is a computer and software is just software. Instead of teaching specific skills with specific platforms or software, we should be helping people to discover the fluidity that exists between platforms and software so that it doesn’t matter if it’s Linux, Windows, Mac OS or something else, they will be able to adapt and use. And you are right, we need to be aware of where other people are at, working from their point of entry, helping them create connections to what they know and developing greater understandings. Again, Bang ON!

  2. February 22, 2007 10:00 am

    Having attempted to upload some photos to Flickr on a friend’s PC while in Santa Cruz, I came to the conclusion that you need to be far more computer geekish to use a PC. Nothing felt obvious, and neither of us could actually find the photos or the file where I’d stashed them. They are there still … lurking on a PC in California. Photos’ End, rather than Howard’s ……. 😉

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