Sunday, April 17, 2011

How Fast Should We Be Going?

We're definitely on a highway.  Some of the cars have powerful engines and can zip around our reliable model and zoom ahead, quickly disappearing ahead in the distance.  I understand.  I, too, have been in the car when my husband passed the driver hunched over the steering wheel trying to drive straight ahead at the same steady speed.  I have often wondered if there is anything to be gained by the five minute difference in arrival times!  Is there any advantage to getting there first?  I have pointed out (not too often!) that we're all headed in the same direction.  Do we really know what lies ahead?  What if there's something unexpected around the bend?

In travelling the Digital Literacies Highway (I know it's a tad cliche-ish but it works!), I feel there are several points that are worth stopping the 'car' for and considering.

As I pause and get my own bearings, I have to wonder about the speed at which some are moving forward. Of course, there will always be pioneers who have the vision (and opportunities) to move in new directions.   (It must be exciting to be at the helm and be able to see what lies around the next turn!)  And there must be, by necessity, those who are willing to follow and populate new places with new thinking, new ideas and new tools.

I guess one of my concerns at this point is what about those left behind?  Many teachers are more than willing to travel, and bring students along, but have questions regarding what to bring along on the trip. Especially those who are first-time flyers!

What strategies do we throw in the suitcase regarding reading?  Texts don't look quite the same where we're headed.  As a matter of fact, we know we can't plan the same if only because there's so many decisions to be made when reading the sidebars and there's detours when we get to hyperlinks!  What about all the things to be seen?  How will we know what to focus on?  Skim?  Ignore?

What about writing?  Looks like it's more collaborative; how do we prepare for that?  What tools do we need to bring?  Paper and pencils are so inadequate.  What if we can't afford to pack iPads?  Where are the directions for all the gadgets we could take if we have the inclination and the room in our backpacks?

Who will we look to for directions if we get lost or see something interesting on a side-road we want to explore?

 Many colleagues have never traveled in this direction before.  (What if they don't even want to go?  Or want to travel at a different speed?  Do we slow down and wait for them?  Is it possible to take jaunts ahead and drop back to help them catch up?)

I know one thing though; I am heading out again soon!

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