I confess I am a web tool junkie.
Surely everybody who’s had to deal with me on a project was heard something like, “why don’t we use a wiki for that?” or “why not tag the resource links on del.iciou.us?” or “ewwww, a listserv, that is so 1980s”. It’s a reflex, likely annoying.
If I am doing a presentation about some technology, 99% of the time I am trying to figure out a way to use that technology as the presentation platform– like October;s one for the K12 Online Conference — can it really make sense to talk about a virtual world application by bullet slides in PowerPoint? Ugh.
So, I remain firm that as educational technology leaders, we need to show the way by actions, experiment, draw others in to the tool corral at Ed Tech Home Depot. Yet, I am taken back how often people I would envision as fellow change agents are still in the old ways lane, clutching their well worn screw drivers
How many times are you working in a group on a project, and draft documents are still sent as Word attachments? Who has the latest versions? Do I send my edits as edits in the document, or do I write emails with instructions like “On page 4, third heading, re-write the rationale as “Xxxx xxxxx xxxxxx…”
When building collections of references for proposals, do we scrounge the web, cut and paste links and text to formatted Word documents, and pummel them back and forth? Where’s the 2.0 in that? What more else cries our for social bookmarking?
How often do you get phone calls best answered via email (don’t you love reading off URLs over the phone)? Or for that matter, how many emails could be better answered by IM (“where is the new graphic for the logo?”)?
What about scheduling meetings? Here is the riddle. how many emails does it take for 10 people to schedule a 1 hour teleconference given 4 possible options? The back and forth flow of inbox clogging messages may easily exceed 100 messages. Nothing is a more clear counter to this then the elegantly written CommonCraft post on Wiki and the Perfect Camping Trip that writing is about two and a half years old and I have yet to have a technology planning group suggest using a wiki for planning the best time to hold synchronous meetings. it’s always email, email, email email….. reply infinitum.
Look, I know that tools don’t solve everything, but I call on fellow ed technology evangelists to walk the proverbial walk. For if we are slow to change, what does it mean to the people we are leading?