Zen and the Art of Technology Use

Change can be a bumpy road, but the view from a new perspective is usually worth it.  My move to a new team and grade-level this year is one such example.  Learning a new curriculum has been challenging, and adjusting to younger students has taken some time and flexibility.

Flickr user Darren Hester
Flickr user Darren Hester

These hurdles are nothing compared to the fantastic benefits that I’ve gained from the new members of my teaching team.  Each has her own skills and brings a unique voice to the team dynamic.  The result is–I humbly believe–the strongest team in our school.  We have the drive and ability to reach every child in a variety of ways, and the students can find at least one personality that they can relate to, and develop a relationship with.  I’ve written in this space before about the importance of divergent voices to my development as an educator, but it’s more than that.  One of my teammates is an amazing writer and photographer.  She is more reflective about her practice than most educators that I know.  She has amazed me with her ability to articulate ideas and concepts, and I am constantly envious of her gift.

Recently, she sent me an email with this statement:

When I recently reread Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I was struck with how you and I both exemplify the contrasting ideologies of the “classical” vs. “romantic” when it comes to technology in education. You not only enjoy using technology, but you derive great purpose and satisfaction from using your problem-solving abilities to maintain the equipment. You strive to understand the inner workings of the computer. I, on the other hand, highly enjoy the user-friendly aspects of technology, but have no interest in fixing or understanding problems should they arise. I get easily frustrated and choose to rely on others to maintain the equipment.

The problem in education is that there is a building full of romantics. Even when training is provided, the majority of educators view technology maintenance as someone else’s job, and, unfortunately, there is really no one on the payroll with that job description. With no real in-house tech support, the pressure and expectations rest on the shoulders of the few “classical” educators who not only possess the ability but also the desire to work with the maintenance of out-dated computer systems and blissfully ignorant, “romantic” teachers.

Wow, huh?  Not only does she pull in a fantastic literary reference, but she manages to clearly and eloquently explain the frustration that I have felt all year due to my new tech trouble-shooting responsibilities.  It’s not just that she can understand what is going on, but the way in which she expresses it.

What do you think?  Do you see these two “classes” of educators in your space?

3 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Technology Use

  1. I was searching online and I found your site on google. Just finished reading a few of some of your other posts here. I’ve already added your site to my Google News Reader. Thanks for your good and educative posts and please keep up the good work as I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.


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