Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Change is Happening Faster Than You Think

ModelAIn Struggling with educators’ lack of technology fluency from Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod asks,

What can we do to build the internal capacity of both individual educators and school systems to be better learners and faster change agents?

I can feel Scott’s frustration as I read his post. I too sometimes want things to happen faster than it is possible. When I’m planning my garden, I want the end product to appear immediately which is impossible. When I’m starting a new knitting project, I want to have it finished as soon as possible. I guees when new technology is introduced, we want everyone to be proficient with it immediately too. Unfortunately people have different learning rates, different priorities in their lives, and even different interests.

I can only imagine how the Wright brothers felt when introducing flight to people. I’m sure there were skeptics all around. Even when commercial flights began, it took time to train people to be pilots and maintenance engineers as well as training airport personnel and all the many people involved in commercial flights. Probably the same thing happened when the automobile entered our worlds. It took time to teach people to drive them as well as repair them and provide roads for automobiles to use.

I look back at my life time (and I’m really not very old) and am amazed how many changes have actually happened and how fast they have happened. At the time, change may seem slow but when you look back, it is truly amazing how quickly things have changed. I remember when TV was only black and white and we used “rabbit ears” to receive the signal. There are so many advancements that I have been able to experience and I wonder what the future will hold. What else will I be able to see and do before I die?

I guess that I can see that this change with using technology doesn’t happen overnight. My generation, who did not start out using computers (since they didn’t exist), is sometimes slow to adopt the new technology. Many students are learning on their own or from their peers. I imagine this next generation will be able to be more comfortable with changes in technology than the generation before it, and the cycle will continue.

When looking at this cycle, I’m not sure that there really is anything we can do to hurry the change. I think we have to just do the best we can and not settle for second best. We need to continue to push forward and even push the limits to what we think we can do. We need to encourage our students to learn. They need to learn from their teachers and their peers. They need to share their new learning so others can learn, including their teachers.

So, my message to Scott is:

Be patient. Change may seem slow but it may be faster than you realize. Don’t give up. Be strong and steadfast to your beliefs and keep trying. It will all be worth it.

Image: '1903 Ford Model A Tonneau 3'


Scott McLeod said...

Thanks, Pat. I see the long-term (and short-term) changes in society. See, for example, the explosion in mobile phone usage...

But we've had 12-15 years of the Internet. I don't think it's unreasonable to be concerned about those educators who are still struggling with their Internet browsers. I'm pretty patient, but over a decade to figure out the basics of a software program that 10-year-olds seem to pick up in a matter of minutes/hours?

loonyhiker said...

I have seen many changes since the introduction of the internet. I'm so glad these changes have come about and would never have imagined when I was first introduced to it, the amazing world it opened up for me. Eventually those educators who are slow to learn or unwilling to learn will either get with the program or retire from teaching. Then those 10 year olds will be grown up and hopefully chose to become educators.

Scott McLeod said...


But in the meantime thousands of students won't be prepared for life in ways that they should be...