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The majority is in the minority

Blue pill
Image via Wikipedia

Can I admit something shameful?  I love showing people Blabberize.  I don’t mean that I like Blabbers, or that I think it’s a great tool.  But I really love introducing that Web 2.0 site to educators that have never seen it before.

I do quite a few presentations nowadays, at conferences, Days of Discovery, institute days, and a slew of webinars.  I’m still surprised at the direction my career has gone, but I really do love working with educators on integrating new technologies and feel blessed that I get the opportunity to do so face to face on a regular basis.  That said, there’s nothing that I like better than when I ask a group of educators in a room how many of them have seen Blabberize… and not a hand goes up in the room.

I had a conversation with a colleague the other day who was lamenting the fact that so many teachers are so far behind (aka ignorant).  That they aren’t aware of PLN’s, have never participated in a global project, or make use of wiki‘s and sites like Edmodo.  S/he seemed almost pissed off that so many educators don’t make the extra effort to learn all the tools they need to make sure students can be set up to succeed in today’s world.

I beg to differ.  I don’t see it as teachers spurning technology, or choosing not to take advantage of those new ideas and tools.  I think most teachers don’t even realize that there’s a decision to be made.  It’s not a matter of choosing the red pill or the blue pill… if you don’t know that there are even two pills available as options.

That’s why I love showing people Blabberize.  It’s a litmus test.  A teacher that has never heard of Blabberize or Glogster or Prezi, has never been introduced to the new world of online applications that are available to them.  They likely don’t follow blogs or listen to podcasts.  They have probably never been to an EdTech conference or seen a TED talk.  In short, they’re just ordinary, average educators who aren’t aware that there’s a whole other world that they have easy access to… if they just ‘take the blue pill’.

Blabberize is a gateway.  It’s so simple that they don’t feel there’s any magic trick to it.  They know it’s something they could realistically pick up and use on their own.  They can immediately see how they might be able to use it, whether it’s for sub plans or to have students share their knowledge.  They don’t feel stressed about teaching their students how to use it because there’s nothing to it.  But best of all, it gets them thinking…  They start asking themselves what a technology like this allows them to do differently.  They begin to realize that they can engage their students using technology, without turning every lesson into a ‘technology project’.  Best of all, they start wondering what else there is out there that they might not have known about…  and how they can find out.

I’m all for conversations about ‘big’ change.  And yes, I agree, it’s not the technology, it’s the pedagogy.  However, I also think that you need at least a minimal base to build from before you can have those conversations.   And the vast majority of the educators in this country do NOT have that base yet.

Every day that I present for educators, I have a greater appreciate for how distorted the view is as seen through the eyes of a typical EduBlogger.  In fact, the majority of the voices in the EdTech Community are so far ahead of the curve that it doesn’t even seem like their on the same road anymore.  Most educators have never listened to a podcast, much less created one.  They’ve never edited a wiki, much less started one of their own.  So how on earth could they be expected to have a rational conversation about the impact new technologies are having on the skill sets our students need?  Simply put, they can’t. The majority of the voices many of us listen to on a regular basis… actually represent just a tiny fraction of the educators out there.  We’re the minority, the outsiders, the ones who talk using strange terms involving words with far too many missing vowels.

That’s why I love introducing educators to Blabberize.  It’s a fun site and all.  But more importantly, I know that I’m getting the opportunity to introduce them to an entirely new world that they may never have known existed.  I get to set them on a journey that will broaden their horizons, and hopefully lead them to challenge their own philosophies of education.  That’s what really gets me giddy.  It’s not that they’ll know how to make their pictures talk…  as Ben Kenobi once told Luke, “You have taken your first step into a larger world.”  That’s exciting stuff to me.

And if we’re lucky, maybe they’ll create legendary works like the Plagiarism Yoda :)

  • The majority is in the minority http://bit.ly/bCaUZV

    Alltop Education

    9/15/2010

  • The majority is in the minority:

    Image via Wikipedia

    Can I admit something shameful?  I love showing people B… http://bit.ly/aLMtFM

    RAMartin

    9/15/2010

  • We're the minority, the outsiders, the ones who talk using strange terms involving words w… http://reduce.li/f9g7yo #minority

    blogs of the world

    9/15/2010

  • Steve, do you think the gap between those of “us” in the EdTech Blogger world and those who don’t know anything about it is widening or shrinking?

    Chad Lehman

    9/15/2010

  • Steve, I don’t know whether you need to change your title to evangelist or pusher-haha. I agree with you, we are in the minority-a fun minority, but still a minority.
    I, too, thought of Star Wars as I read your post. Perhaps we can use the ‘light’ of the cool tools to persuade other educators to leave the ‘dark’ side. :)

    Carolyn Rains

    9/16/2010

  • If more teachers would just swallow the blue pill! RT @teach42: The majority is in the minority http://bit.ly/afGXjh #edchat

    Rebecca Ellis

    9/17/2010

  • Great post, Steve.

    I am sometimes guilty of getting POed that teachers aren’t embracing (or even thinking about) all that these tech tools can bring to teaching and learning. I guess it is based in the fact that each weed/month/year that passes without having students engaged in more exciting and meaningful ways is almost shameful. But I do understand the obstacles and most of time I am very understanding.

    I guess I just want teachers to model that they are also on a learning journey. That simple act can be powerful to students (as well as the teacher).

    And I, too, really love working with teachers on the very entry level stuff – where the light goes off and they start to see the possibilities. It is very rewarding and keeps me going…

    So, thanks for all the work you do on behalf of all of us – I really appreciate it!

    Fred

    Fred Koch

    9/18/2010

  • Steve,
    I completely agree. I believe you actually got to do this experiment on my wife and I at the DEN conference in Hershey. We had never heard of many of the Web 2.0 applications you mentioned that day. I will whole-heartedly agree with you when you said, ” I don’t see it as teachers spurning technology, or choosing not to take advantage of those new ideas and tools. I think most teachers don’t even realize that there’s a decision to be made.”

    That was us! I was excited to go to the DEN conference when Lance gave us the opportunity, and it ended up being so much more than I could have imagined.

    I don’t think that all teachers are in the same boat here. Yes, some of them are going to resist change, and some are going to jump in head-first. I think a bigger issue here is what the school communities think are important for the students (and teachers) to learn. If the school is only concerned with Reading and Math Standardized test scores (NCLB), then that is what they are going to stress at in-services and trainings.

    Until the door is revealed, it is hard to find fault with people for not making a choice to walk through. Blabberize makes a great doorway; maybe we need to figure out a better way of lighting it.

    Brad Steigerwalt

    9/18/2010

  • Currently reading – The majority is in the minority – by @teach42 http://www.teach42.com/2010/09/15/the-majority-is-in-the-minority/

    Brad Steigerwalt

    9/19/2010

  • So true! – The majority is in the minority – @Teach42 http://j.mp/b2aPrO

    Silvia Tolisano

    9/29/2010

  • RT @langwitches: So true! – The majority is in the minority – @Teach42 http://j.mp/b2aPrO

    Milton Ramirez

    9/29/2010

  • Currently reading – The majority is in the minority – by @teach42 http://www.teach42.com/2010/09/15/the-majority-is-in-the-minority/

    Cecile McVittie

    9/29/2010

  • RT @langwitches: So true! – The majority is in the minority – @Teach42 http://j.mp/b2aPrO

    Thomas Sauer

    9/29/2010

  • [...] Steve Dembo said: [...]

  • There exists another reason besides teachers not knowing there are 2 “pills” for them to not brace technology and that is the fact that many schools do not have adequate resources for an entire class to use computers at the same time, or to even have a class watch an international news report because all the computer does is buffer the entire class period.

    Tammy Vine

    1/8/2011