The Fear of Change

In Media awareness, Professional Learning on October 5, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , , , , ,

– by Randy Lyseng

Change is all around us.  In the words of Karl Fisch, Shift Happens!  (see the latest Did You Know video on YouTube.  But how do we respond to teachers who grapple with technology change in the classroom?

On the ISTE Connects Blog this morning, I found a great post about Dennis Baron’s new book  A Better Pencil. Here’s an excerpt of the post:

His new book takes a look at people’s fear of computers having a negative impact on various aspects of human interaction, including common complaints that instant messaging (IM) is ruining the English language and that Facebook is causing us to be anti-social. Baron argues that we don’t need to be concerned. He feels computers are improving writing and actually making us more social. And what I found to be most interesting is his view that this fear of ‘changing technology’ is nothing new.

And it’s true…it is nothing new.  In the final phase of my student teaching, my cooperating teacher used the Gestetner printer and refused to use the photocopier. I preferred using Mechanical pencils in University vs. the standard HB.  I was able to use a calculator in my grade 12 diploma exam…this first year it was allowed (1985).  Some teachers are petrified of using the new SMARTBoard in their class and prefer to use the overhead and project it on their SMARTBoard instead.

Megan Dolman, the author of the post on ISTE Connects provides us with some great advice for working these hesitant teachers:

When you come up against people that are hesitant to implement technology it may be a good idea to remember what Baron is saying: this fear of new communication tools is as old as the pencil. Reassure them that just as the telephone didn’t lessen the need or desire for face-to-face conversations, Facebook and other social media won’t either!

The times…well they are always changing.


4 Responses to “The Fear of Change”

  1. I applaud the staff who are willing to (as the book title suggests) “Feel the fear and Do it Anyway”- it’s hard to suddenly return to the “Beginner Level” when you’ve gained so much proficiency in all other aspects of your job. I’ve found a sense of curiousity and playfulness has helped me to explore new technology. And when all else fails- ask a kid to help you!!

    Trustee Sue Huff, Vice Chair

    • Isn’t that the truth – ‘asking at kid to help you’ – it reminds me of a tweet that I saw earlier today from Diana Fingal of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) – @dianafingal: I strive to be as tech-savvy as the average fifth grader. Thanks for commenting on our blog.

  2. Reading your post made me think of a video I saw during great session at the Special Education Conference last week.

    Check Medieval Helpdesk out at
    It pokes fun at the fears people face by new technoogy and reminds us to remain patient as we support teachers during change.

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