“Miguel,” one supervisor said to me many years ago, “what’s the best you can propose? Let me worry about figuring out how to fund it.” Even farther back, the incomparable Dr. Larry “My Soul Quivers” Anderson, looking like a white bearded prophet dressed in an immaculate suit, shared in a presentation to a packed room of educators in leadership positions, the story of a school district and a business. One of the best speakers I’d heard in my young career posed a captivating story about audacity and hope.
The school prepared a proposal and plan for new technology in their school. They had no hope of funding it themselves, Larry pointed out, proceeding ahead in spite of funding. But then a business stepped in. Instead of buying new computers for their organization, they bought the new equipment and shipped it to the school. They kept working on their existing machines, which still had a few years left in them. Astonishing! Inspiring.
Pointless leadership. If I had to define that oxymoron, it would be a needless debate about what’s the best technology argued on the merits of the technology and its cost. Rather than taking a deep inventory of our needs in the classroom, at the campus and district level, it’s easy for pundits to argue about the right technology. As Doug “Blue Skunk” Johnson points out in this blog entry, Tablet or laptop? it’s easy to get side-tracked:
A couple days ago, my friend Miguel Guhlin posted a matrix of popular personal computing devices on his Around the Corner blog. Thoughtful and comprehensive, my take-away from the comparison is that if you work at it, you can get about any device to do what you want it to do.
While I don’t really want to fan the flames of what has come down to an iPad vs Chromebook* war among techno-enthusiasts, I’m starting to think that one’s preference may be a simple test of how one personally defines literacy.
Indeed, the highlighted point is exactly the point I hoped to make with the blog entry but failed to articulate it as succinctly as Doug’s put it above. A technologist worth their salt can easily make any technology tool as advanced as what we now have available, in a word, sing. In fact, I bet some folks can do much more within the boundaries of a particular device:
“The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” ― Wendell Berry
If we can set aside pointless debates about who’s selling Chromebooks over machines with different capabilities/functions, whether one technology is better than another (although we must clarify that tech and how it will be used), we can focus on the important stuff, such as George Couros’ quote that Stephen Ransom has so ably captured in this image:
A great quote (@gcouros) and well-illustrated (@ransomtech) !!
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