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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Put Your Finger to the Saw? How much to you trust your technology?



Niagara Water Falls - Horseshoe Falls, CanadaImage via WikipediaThe Great Blondin was the first person to walk across Niagara falls on a tightrope. At first the crowds came out on droves. Then, it became just "old hat." So, to liven up his act, he asked the crowd one day, "how many of you believe that I can walk a man across in a wheelbarrow" - everyone raised their hand eager to see him do it.

OK, "who wants to do it?"

No. one. No one.  Finally, his manager put his faith in the Great Blondin into action and hopped in the wheelbarrow. He made it.

It is easy to have faith -- for others. I love it when someone goes through a struggle. You have cancer and everyone says, "you're going to be ok." Well, that is fine for them, they don't have to face the chemo and all that goes with it.

But we do this with technology all the time.  Oh, just do this, or do that - it will improve your test scores.

But do we REALLY believe it.

Talk is cheap. Give me action.

Putting your finger to the saw?
OK, this video almost makes me sick. The inventor of the SawStop, a device that stops sawblades before cutting off your finger. After first demonstrating with a sawblade and a hotdog, he then USES HIS FINGER. Yes, putting his finger to the blade, literally, he tests the sawstop with his finger!



Fortunately it works.


Here is the question.

You believe that technology can improve education. You think it can help students become more engaged. Will you put your finger to the blade and DO IT in your classrooms?

So many times at conferences I meet people so excited about the potential of technology but full of excuses for why they cannot use it.  This or that or the other.

You can't do everything but you can do something.

If it works, DO IT! If it doesn't, FORGET ABOUT IT.

But let's stop talking and start doing. Let's put our finger to the blade. I've done it in my classroom with carefully selected technologies that fit with research based best practices that are proven. When planned and done well, it works.

That being said, some technologies aren't trustworthy - some websites aren't either. Know the trustworthy ones - test them, use them. Use what works but please, let's don't just talk about it.

Lip service is like room service that never leaves the kitchen. Lots of promises but nothing to fill the belly.

Let's do this!

Remember your noble calling, Teacher!



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