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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keep a Straight Face: They Might Not Mean to Ask a Dumb Question



question markImage via WikipediaThis funny set of "operating system" jokes is a great one to pass along to your IT department including:

"Customer: "Do you sell Mac OS X for Windows?""

and

"At least three people from our company have come to me panicked, almost crying. They all say, "I think I just erased a program!! Help!!" In reality, it turns out they just minimized the window. When I open it again, they gasp, "What did you DO?!?!?""

 Why do I bring up the "dumb question?"

Well, really my journey that has culminated in this blog and many other blessings really started with a  dumb question.

"What is a blicki and how do I use it in my classroom?"

I asked David Warlick at GAETC in November 2005. With kindness he corrected my portmanteau of "blog" and "wiki" but then said something I've kept with me:

"It depends on what you want to do."

It always starts with what you want to do.

And in this case, my dear, intelligent IT friends we want to take technology into positive uses throughout the entire school. We want to improve education.

Behind every "dumb" question is a pretty smart teacher who probably doesn't know they've asked a dumb question. 

They have guts for asking it so respect that.

How will their future self see you?
Their future educated self will always look back upon their uneducated self and the question with a lopsided smile and their opinion of you, oh great conveyor of IT knowledge, will largely be determined by the respect you show them as a person when (not IF) ... when they ask that question.

Asking questions is a good thing. It can open the gate for many more good questions or it can forever shut the gate on questions and the transformation that can happen when one really starts asking good questions.

Respect the person even if they are emitting a question worthy of inclusion on a joke page. Build bridges with your facial expressions.

Technology Change is People-Centric
This is hard because so many of us IT people are SOOOOOOO direct and so incredibly easy to read. But in this case, technology change is people-centric. Treat the people with respect and they will treat your technology with respect.

Teachers remember your noble calling. IT department remember you are teachers as well - teachers of teachers and your calling is thus, noble as well!


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