Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Agreeing to Be Contrary

disagree In 12 Contrarian Statements from Blue Skunk Blog, Doug shares some beliefs that others may not agree with. I agreed with some of them and wanted to share my own examples of why I agree. His beliefs are in bold letters with my opinion following. If you want to read all of his statements, please check out his blog post.

  1. “Technology should not transform education. I harbor deep skepticism about the ability of technology to change education in powerful and positive ways. Yes, sometimes technology can support (or even make possible) best teaching practices - but teaching and learning always come before the technology.”

I believe that technology enhances teaching but will never replace teachers. Yes, students can learn many things on line but the bottom line is that someone had to put those lessons online. Somehow, a real live person was involved in that lesson. They might have put up a document or wiki or video but the lesson wasn’t born on its own. I know that sometimes I learn different things in different ways which may involve technology or it may not. I need to look at the student and the individual needs in deciding how I will teach a lesson and make sure I’m not teaching a one-size-fits-all lesson because someone is going to be left out.

  1. “Collaboration is not always a good thing. Fine if it is a means to an end, but not an end in itself as library literature too often assumes. See here and here.”

Collaboration only works if the teacher is comfortable interacting with others. You can’t force someone to collaborate if that is not their personality. Forced collaboration is sometimes worse than no collaboration. I stress learning styles of the students when we teach but it is also important to know our own teaching styles and what we are comfortable doing. Yes, we should stretch our limits and try new things but if we decide that it doesn’t work for us, there is no shame in trying something else.

  1. “State/national program standards are irrelevant. School libraries and technology programs should be tailor-made to suit individual schools rather than conform to a set of state or national standards.”

Too many times we try to make education a one-size-fits-all plan and that doesn’t work. Students are all different and unique. If we try to pretend that they are all the same we do the students a disservice as well as schools. Depending on the location and the neighborhoods that the students come from, we need to be flexible and willing to adjust in order to meet their needs.

  1. “Face-to-face educational experiences will always be better than online. Sorry, I have personally yet to experience an online class, presentation, MOOC, or meeting that even comes close to the learning I experience when working with others in real time, in the same room.”

My online experiences are a great thing and I love every minute of it. But there is something to be said when I meet an online friend in person. It makes the experience real and more meaningful. It helps make the connections relevant to my life and puts the connections in perspective to what is happening in my life at that moment. We need to offer the students the same opportunities as much as possible.

How do you feel about these statements or the other ones on Doug’s post? Please share.

Image: 'Ritratto di Sebastiano'
Found on

1 comment:

Sioux Roslawski said...

I took an online class on economics and it was much better than a traditional class. I really struggled, but I could struggle in a relatively private, anonymous setting. I would have been embarrassed if I had to see the instructor face to face--then he would have had a face to match with the idiotic answers I was sending him. ;)