That Damned Silver Bullet

3 August 09

Muhammad is an administrator for Suba District schools. As he put it, he’s responsible for the hiring and sacking of teachers. In the time we’ve spent together, I’ve found him to be a genuinely good person.

During our first workshop session in Mbita, I learned Muhammad had no idea how to work with a computer.

Yet, when Lois had the teachers position themselves around the room according to whether they “Strongly Disagree,” “Disagree,” “Agree,” or “Strongly Agree” with the statements, “ICT integration is one of the biggest challenges facing schools in Kenya,” and “The Internet will be in my school in the next 2 years,” Muhammad was with almost every other participant on the “Strongly Agree” side.

He’s bought in to the hype.

Though he and many of the other teachers don’t know how to use a computer (some have never touched a computer), Muhammad has come to see ICT as the silver bullet.

This has been the case with teachers at every conference on technology that I’ve ever attended. “What tool should I be using?” they’ll ask.

My answer, “The right one,” is rarely well received.

My goal during our preparation for this week of workshops was to explore the habits of mind that encourage learning and curiosity in learners and are fortified by ICT.

The essential question, “What if we had known the Internet was coming?”

Seriously, think about it.

If we had known the Internet was coming, that technology would be ubiquitous and that connectedness would be global, how would we have prepared?

My topics to consider this week are “Learning in an Information Age,” “Multiple Intelligences,” “Cooperative Learning,” and “Backward Design.”

I think that list and the ideas it contains is the beginning to my answer.

It’s about ideas, not tools. It’s about taking ideas and adding to them to make them our own.

Muhammad’s sitting on all the tools he needs to change the game of Kenyan education. I’m not sure he’s going to like that.

One thought on “That Damned Silver Bullet

  1. Zach,
    It’s been great having the opportunity to live vicariously on your summer journey.
    It almost seems as though in this post you have had the opportunity to “Step back in time” technologically speaking and “get it right!” It really isn’t about the tools.
    Thanks for reminding me of that!

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