Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.
Passenger or driver?
February 1st, 2009

I met Darcy Moore the other day. I enjoy reading Darcy’s blog and catching up on his tweets. We grabbed a brew at the Laconia coffee lounge in Kiama. I like that place. Like stepping back in time as you stir your coffee, complete with a real cup and saucer, as you sit in one of those luxurious booths that hark back to the glory days of the 1950s.

Our conversation covered career, driving and the change that is happening with the Internet and mobile technologies. The other day Darcy gave a presentation at the Illawarra and South East Regional Conference (DET). As Darcy wrote on his blog his “aim was to propose a way that educators could engage students using new tools by transforming professional development in the ISER region with Web 2.0 concepts”. Darcy’s post is an informative read and a number of great comments have been added to the post. I suggest you give Darcy’s post a read and add to the conversation. I commented as well and I thought I would take my words and repeat them here…

Darcy, your drive and passion will have an impact. You have sown the seeds and now is the time to nurture the growth and spread the thinking, rationale and implementations of the programme set out above. Incremental yet formative steps.

Change is underway in how many members of society communicate and act. Individuals are no longer simply the passive recipients of news and information. They now have the power to publish and disseminate information. Passive has been replaced by proactive. That entails a measure of responsibility.

Decision making and choice was often imposed upon society via marketing and regulation. Now, via the web, individuals have the ability to make change occur from the ground up via rapid publication and the sharing of their views and decisions. Ideas and actions, both good and bad, can be disseminated quickly and efficiently.

Technology has provided society with a new swathe of communication and publication skill sets. These new skills have arrived rapidly. Much can be achieved with the change that is taking place with respect to the empowerment of the individual and the group facilitated via the changing use of the Internet. The wise and beneficial use of these skills as positive change agents within society predicate that good exemplars and education is required.

The Internet as a platform has changed. individuals are not simply an audience observing a performance on stage. They now have the potential to be part of the performance whether they be actors, writers, directors or producers. Education has a role to play in facilitating the staging of a good performance.

Think upon the car. A rapid impact on society. Imagine driving on the roads if driver education had not taken place. Not the best of similes yet I feel that the evolution of the Internet as a media that primarily facilitated consumption to one that fosters participation educators (and also those elected to oversee the functioning of our society) cannot simply sit back and watch it happen. They need to be involved and, at least, to understand. Comprehension of the change can facilitate sound judgement and the provision of good exemplars for students, colleagues and the wider community.

On another level the Internet and mobile technologies have collectively allowed the individual to be either a passenger or a driver on this new road. Our students have already made the decision to be drivers. The ride can either be bumpy or smooth. Would you rather be a passenger or a driver? Certainly not hiding in the boot of the car.

Compulsory PD re Web 2.0? Will it happen? Frankly, I am not sure. Perhaps, like the car, the impact on society of Web 2.0 will become so significant and so pervasive that educators will want to secure that license and learn how to drive it anyway. Not all, but many.

We all need to grab a map, buckle up, turn that ignition key and make the journey happen otherwise we will be left behind, standing at the kerb, and observing opportunity as it disappears over the horizon.

3 Responses to “Passenger or driver?”

  1. Simon Brown Says:

    Thanks, John – there many useful ideas here, and in Darcy’s update. I’ve asked my work colleagues to read them both, prior to following up with a program to include Web2.0 tools in every area of teaching and learning.

  2. Darcy Moore Says:

    John, I really appreciate your support by making such a lengthy post and comment. I look forward to collaborating and continuing to participate in, and build, a flourishing network of digital chalkies down south.

  3. David Lewis Says:

    Thank you for the continual development of my thinking. Live in Kiama, Darcy and I usually drink beer, but coffee is fine

    ” I have never laid an egg, but I am pretty good judge of an omlette.”