Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lesson learned: Get up off my backside

Twice this week I have been reminded of something I know and I know I know, but it still surprises me when I see it. There is no one way to communicate, or teach, or learn. These endeavors happen through all of our senses, so why would I think that merely putting things in electronic print, or showing them in a staff training session would meet the needs of all my collegaues? In these two instances specifically I stumbled into conversations with indviduals who told me they had to find some way to organize their web favorites. In the most recent, I was flattered to find two teachers were spending the afternoon going through a long list of links they had saved one by one as I had sent them out throughout this year. They were pleased, as was I, to find a number of good sites and ideas to incorporate into their lessons, and they told me to keep the links coming even though they lamented not having a better way to save them. To these teachers and one yesterday, I mentioned I'd be happy to help them set up a Delicious account so they could organize all their favorites by topic and access them from any Internet capable device.

Now keep in mind, our librarian and I have been singing the praises of Delicious, Diigo and Sqworl for more than a year, I have created a page with instructions and videos on social bookmarking on our tech tips wiki, and I have made several references to it in email messages. However, for these teachers what we were offering wasn't connecting with them until they found themselves in need of the solution. Because I happened to be there in their time of need with just the information they needed and was able to present it in a personally tailored message, they can now see how social bookmarking could become a useful tool for them.

So what are the lessons learned? First of all, I have learned (again) that sending out emails and posting information on a blog or wiki is not enough. I must get up out of my chair and go to where I can interact face to face with people. Only this way will I truly be able to ascertain what they need. Second, I have learned (again) that teaching only works if the learner has a need to fill and is receptive, which goes back to lesson one, correctly identifying individual needs. And finally, I have learned (again) that when I am the learner I need to let my would be teachers know what I need to know and how they can best help me.


  1. It's that just in time learning again, isn't it?

    If teachers can't see an immediate use for a tool they will tune out, but will grasp it with both hands when the need arises.

  2. Funny, I had the EXACT conversation with some 2nd grade teachers this week. :) I introduced her (visual learner) to Simply Box. I don't think she has ever been so excited about tech. It was fun!