Tools and Infrastructure

This week I had a rant in my department meeting. We had been talking about the divide that was currently taking place in our school. A divide between the new technology that we are adopting and the infrastructure to support the implementation of that technology. My fear is that we are looking too much to new technology to be our answers to the problem, rather than using that new or existing technology to support our learning in the classroom.

I could give you any number of examples about how this is currently being manifested in my work environment, but this isn’t probably the appropriate forum, but how this relates to this weeks discussion is as such — new tools are great, but we need to be sure of how to use them, and we need to be certain that these tools will ultimately support our learning and the learning of our students. This week, I experimented with a tool that I have used before, Prezi. Prezi is an online presentation tool, that makes presentations more dynamic and embeddable. I first heard about it because a colleague of mine was having her students create presentations on it. After playing with it for a few times, I would agree that it is a very cool tool. However, I think it is a total pain to use. Maybe it’s too much of me being a newbie, but I was constantly trying to figure out how I was supposed to do things in the program. I was constantly in the wrong mode to do the things that I wanted. No offense to my colleague, but if I was to give this to my students as a tool, I would spend most of the time showing them how to use the tool (if I could figure it out) rather than them being actually engaged in learning outcomes.

Regardless, here is the presentation that I made with Prezi. It’s all about Jump Cuts:

.prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }

I don’t want you to think I am down on technology, because I really love it. But we need to make sure that our students are able to use the technology as an invisible tool. As we say in the Editing world, “Your job is to be invisible”. The tool should be a transparent way that we can engage with the content, not a road block.