I really admire Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. She is one of the primary female authorities on edtech heard around the world. I also appreciate the way she let’s me know each time she posts on the Tech Learning blog. I know, it’s in my RSS feeds but so are many others, too many to read. Her current post is entitled, School Wide Communities of Practice. Below are my comments. Please read her post for the real meat and potatoes.
This line in Sheryl’s post caught my attention, “The platform should be very intuitive and require a minimal learning curve.” I think the real answer can be found in simplicity. I have observed the agony experienced by teachers who, like fish out of water attempted to create their own FrontPage websites only to forget what they learned and never touch them again. That was three years ago. Times have changed, thank goodness and last week I was facilitating a weebly workshop during a PD session. The vibe in the room was one of triumph. I heard more than one teacher say, “I think I can really do this!” My in-house slogan is, “If you can email you can weebly!” I emailed every teacher in my school to get the word out. Out of 50 teachers 5 took the initiative and responded by creating and sending me their website links. 18 more came to the PD training. I heard them say, “This is easy, anyone can do this.” That is what we need to hear. We need uncomplicated solutions.
Technology has to become even easier and more purposeful before people can readily adopt it. Everyone uses a cell phone, email and Google. People have strong intrinsic motivation to do so both at home and at work. Until a solution exists that truly blends with the role of administrators/teachers and supports their function as ubiquitously as email or cell phones, I can’t envision a change in behavior or professional practice. Consider the technology that actually make our lives more complicated.
I am currently enjoying the book, Made to Stick. One of their axioms claims people tend to forget what it was like NOT to know. Personally I love Sheryl’s vision for CoPs. It’s brilliant. But I am in the know. I just think that something simple and weebly-like will be the ultimate catalyst for change. When it happens, our coworkers will look at us and wonder why we were churning butter by hand for so long.