Home > #eltchat reflections, Education, Technology > What takes it so long?

What takes it so long?

The very first time I heard of #edchat, I thought it was the craziest idea ever. How could we possibly have a conversation trying to convey our message using only 132 (don’t forget the hashtag) characters? Well, not only did I find it possible, but I also started participating in more and more #edchat sessions. The idea of #edchat was so good and effective, that lots of other educational chats on twitter either: a) followed; or b) came to my knowledge. I don’t really know if #edchat was the precursor of all the educational tweet chats out there, and, to be honest, I couldn’t care less(sorry, but “I could care less” makes no sense, especially after watching the video below).

The latest educational chat I came across on twitter is #ELTchat. This past Wednesday, close to lunch time in Brazil, we were discussing whether or not online teaching would ever replace face to face instruction. Truth be told, I am of the opinion that we’re headed towards a blended system for many different reasons. Anyhow, the discussion went on to the idea of integrating technology in our current teaching practice. One of the many beauties of these chats is that you get to throw ideas at other educators who are willing to read and comment on your thoughts, so here’s a brief exchange of tweets I had when talking about this matter:

I truly do believe in that. If we listen to all tech gurus and experts we only hear them saying that, in the (relatively near) future, our children will find keyboards and mouses as archaic and will have a hard time conceiving such a barbaric interaction with gadgets. To my mind, this means technology will be a lot more accessible AND a lot more necessary for men. This tweet was followed by a couple of replies, and I’ll highlight here one of them, from Olaf Elch:

Granted! I might have been extremely hopeful to say that technology will soon be ubiquitous, and that it will soon be considered useless for people to discuss technology integrated with technology. “Hold on, Henrick! I don’t quite follow. What do you really mean, then?”

Well, I just mean that I do believe that technology will be everywhere, but, come to think of it:

Isn’t it funny that there are so many educators out there who believe our educational system is no longer useful to the way our society is currently organised, but still so little is done in practical terms? Why is it that when we discuss with people about the changes that should be made in education, they all agree, but they all seem to be afraid to let such change start with their own kids?

There’s a gulf between agreeing with something and actually taking steps to implement such things – and this seems to be particularly true for education. Regardless of how much our society values its teachers, it’s common knowledge that education is the most valuable resource you can give to your children. It’s also well known that knowledge opens doors and educated people have better chances to succeed in life. So why is it so difficult for people to understand that there are so many educators – serious educators – who have only our children’s best interest at heart and who are willing to take education to the next level and better prepare our kids to live their lives?

When it’s their child’s future at stake, parents seem to be the most conservative possible and not willing to take risks. Apparently, going with the unknown, the experimental, might mean jeopardising the entire future of their children – and which parent would willingly do that? I don’t think we take so lang to change education because we don’t want to. I think it’ll always take so long to reform or revolutionise education because many of the interested parts are too concerned and afraid to take the first step. Will this fear ever be gone? Unlikely, unfortunately. This is why we are likely to always see serious educators complaining about how dated the educational system is, and why schools might always be the last institutions to evolve.

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  1. Danilo Irwing
    September 24, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Well, I’m a new English student, let’s say so, and I do know that something must be done to change our reality in education! Once I want to be an English teacher, it’s crucial to be aware of what you’ve just said…
    I totally agree with you, when you said we are afraid of the first step, we really need to face the truth if we want to change this situation!
    So… Congrats, from now on I’ll certainly read your blog frequently!

    Danilo Irwing

    • September 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

      Hi Danilo,

      Thanks a bunch for your comments! It’s really important that we get it right from the start and also for us all to know we can count on other educators who are willing to re-think education and start taking the necessary steps in order to make change happen.

      I hope you find the blog interesting and useful.

      Cheers!

  2. September 27, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    The Twitter chats are enormously helpful for me too. I also started out wondering how a chat like this could really work. I can’t explain it but it does and I am a better thinker because of it!

    • September 29, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      This seems to be the norm, then. I, too, can’t explain how it works, but they just seem to work. Every time someone asks me to describe it or talk about it, they feel they’ll never be able to keep up nor learn anything from it. I guess it takes participating in one of these chats to truly see the benefits and experience all the food for thought we get from them. :)

  3. September 28, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Unlike many edu-tweeps I don’t really enjoy hashtagged chats, and since I don’t often join them I cannot really see their benefit to what you say above on your post. However, I read the chats many times and I see it as 100 people talking about things they do and that most of the time are already common sense to these 100 people and there’s a slight attempt to standardize best practice but little actual effective action is demonstrated, in the sense that I haven’t seen follow-up discussions on the same theme to see what people have done in real life with all that was argued in the first session.
    Chats of this sort are very good for getting links and finding new people to follow, but as I see it it’s far from being a big change-maker.

    Look forward to being wrong about this comment I’ve just made.

    • September 29, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Hi Willy,

      Gee, I don’t think I can say you’re wrong about the comment you made. Change will come from your personal reflections after the chat is over, and you’ll hopefully be able to look at things from a slight different angle after any one of these chats. Yes, there are many times when people seem to be simply repeating the same thing, as if we were just looking for validation, but there are lots of disagreement as well, and this is where I can see we may start thinking twice about our practices. On the other hand, we can’t just talk the talk and not walk the walk. If people participate in any chat, on twitter or anywhere else, just to say things others expect them to say, or just to express their views and ready to dismiss out of hand anything the other party has got to say, then it’s all just a waste of time, right?!

      Your positive points are really true, but I believe some change might come out of it depending on who’s taking part in the conversation.

      Cheers! :)

  1. September 25, 2010 at 12:11 am

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