By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor
What the heck does that have to do with education?
Well, nothing, but my mother and aunt were recently visiting my sister and had the opportunity to have some fantasy rock-and-roll lifestyle photographs taken. The choices of t-shirts for this photo opportunity were for the bands Pelvic Meatloaf and Nuns with Shotguns. My aunt, a former hospital chaplain, decided she had to go with the Nuns shirt, because although it was probably a sin, she understood it. She was afraid Pelvic Meatloaf was something worse she just didn't understand. In reality, Pelvic Meatloaf appears to have no hidden satanic message.
In the same way, educators often take the road that they understand, even if the other road might be better, if they don't understand it. Embracing technology integration is one such area of concern. Online programming is rampant in higher education, business and the military. However, many educators are still trying to figure out how not to give credit to teachers for online graduate courses or disallow high school students from taking botany online even if their school doesn't offer the course.
I remember several years ago, campaigning for more computers in school libraries about the same time the Internet was coming into its own (even before Mosaic made its debut). I was trying to explain that the library would need fewer ready reference materials since the Internet would be able to provide more up to date, easier to use resources than atlases, etc. I ultimately won the argument, but only after having to explain how the district wasn't going to have to pay for all of those phone calls to Australia (clearly the ready reference Mecca of the Internet).
Often when educators are designing buildings for the future (average school buildings last 50-75 years), or many other programs for that matter we are too apt to select Nuns with Shotguns over Pelvic Meatloaf. Let's work hard to look to what is working and how to harness it for education. Let’s work to make sure we don’t select the easier road or the more manageable choices. We need to make sure that we do what is best for kids even when it might be more difficult for us, teachers or the IT staff.
Will it be Nuns with Shotguns or Pelvic Meatloaf for you?
Steven M. Baule is currently superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200http://www.nbcusd.org/ in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning.