When I think of my topic here today, I am reminded that change is hard. Each time a software package has updated to a newer version, I have lamented how I liked the old one fine!! Things are moved around. Actions cause new unexpected actions. I can’t find the menus or tricks I used to speedily get done anymore. It takes time for me to develop a new comfort level, much less “like” the changes. So I know first hand change can be challenging.
Some things are just so slow to change.
Does it mean I love them? I mean after all, I don’t really have to adjust my understanding or performance in them do I? Consider these changes that have impacted my professional world:
- (old) using a calculator to generate grades for report cards (which I confess I never did–I started in 1986 on an Apple IIE at home using Appleworks. I taught many teachers in my building how to use it to do their grades. I even used Applewriter to create progress reports and had a mailmerge set up to print out interim reports. How cool is that for 1986?? But alas, I graduated to a Windows machine and an assortment of word processing programs, settling in the Windows Office packages for many years. With each upgrade my ire would be raised at the relocation of tools and menus–supposedly in more intuitive locations. Intuitive to who!! I yelled this at my screen frequently. I’m sure I will probably struggle with the newest Office program if I ever receive it. Maybe not though since I’ve become a fan of the Google Docs suite.
- Taking class roll went from gridded blue cards to a networked management program (we used Osiris) to another networked program, Sasi, to finally Powerschool, which is connected statewide. Not to brag or anything, but I never had any real training in any of these programs, but seemed to be able to manage just fine in them, even exporting student data to import into programs like Winnebego, Spectrum, Follett Circ/Cat (now Destiny), and even Accelerated Reader back in the day! (This accomplishment came as a direct result of the power of networking with librarians, my first taste of a PLN.)
- Anyone remember Fred Mail? I think that is what it was called. Never used it, but I first used Eudora as an email client, then relied on my school email clients for a while (Pegasus, Novell’s Groupwise, Microsoft Outlook) and have finally settled (i guess for now) on the Google Apps gmail.
Change can mean struggle. If you are not struggling you are not learning or adapting.
With each change, yes, I had some struggling to get used to a different look or a different way of doing things. These are just minor examples too. But then I compare how fast the whole concept of education has embraced change. Not very. Consider that classrooms of today very much resemble the classrooms of our grandparents. Oh there are some indicators that it is not of the grandparents’ time, such as IWBs, projectors, laptops. But largely the room configuration where the students come in and sit for the most part still face the front of the room; a place where the all powerful, all knowing teacher stands each day to impart knowledge and students “sit and get.” Changes in education seem to come at glacier speed. Sigh.
Archaic = Holding on to the past or what is known and comfortable
Recently in a blog reference I made a passing comment about listservs being archaic. Well apparently I struck a nerve. This post is not meant to be an apology, But I do want to take a stand here. I am still a member of a listserv. Why? There is a node of my network that just can’t seem to move beyond its listserv for communication purposes, despite a blog, a wiki, a ning, and even Twitter and Facebook presences. So I share information there, and attempt to expose this node to forward minded thinking. Not sure how successful I am, and sometimes I worry that I am considered an annoyance. But sadly, it is where this node in my network resides, and no amount of prodding, exposure to newer ways, or guilt-trips seem to move them to our other modes of networking.
In search of support –> Facebook
I want to thank some of my Facebook friends who have supported me, especially after I confessed to them that I had been called on the rug for calling the listserv archaic. They helped me see that this is definitely a divisive issue, but that I am by no means wrong. I want to share their comments, and will do so anonymously, in hopes that they don’t get the same defensive email I received. If you are in my Facebook network, you can see the whole thread. Some are funny, but many are supportive and tell me that I am not wrong in my thinking:
- A prophetess is never known in her own time. Keep helping them to understand the need to move forward (quickly) in these changing times.
- I agree – I skip looooong emails these days. So, I stopped getting the listservs years ago. Not only that – but people go there for answers, but you have to wait days for an answers. These days, I can find answers a lot quicker elsewhere.
- I agree. RSS is the way to go. My email box is so full I have anxiety even opening it!
- It’s a comfort zone, for most! Uncomfortable, for some.
- There are still listservs? I would not know how to find one now. Also, thought they were full of illegal porn or am I thinking of another ancient technology.
- Change does not come easy. I remember so vividly being criticized for arranging library like a book store. Now it is accepted. I don’t post to listserv very often. I do when I want to make a point or stir folks up.
- I tried to talk a woman who publishes an email newsletter that blogging would be the way to go. Did not listen and her readership went to 0 when her service sold all her contacts to advertisers. Service was bought out by a bigger company that wanted the addresses.
- They need to change or go the way of the dodo. Seriously.
- I am afraid. That’s the way things are heading. A radical shift needs to happen. Been preaching that for years. That has fallen on deaf ears. In many cases.
- Students certainly don’t use email…it’s been old school to them for more than a few years!
- We are in a fast-moving world. Adapt or die. This is not cruel, it’s reality. Listservs are comfortable and familiar, but not the most effective way to share or discover information. Why pretend otherwise? Why would you limit your interaction to a little corner of the world when it can easily be the whole world, at no cost?
- I’m with you, Mark. “We want the world and we want it now” otherwise, the music really IS over. Our students deserve teachers who facilitate their learning with every tool available – who are co-learners and collaborators. I’m an older learner. There is no excuse for not updating your skills.
- At least (the organization) is doing a survey on communication tools. Perhaps some progress…
- Age has nothing to do with it. If I listed the 25 educators who’ve been most insightful for us, 22 would be over 40. And when we pitch our products at conferences, the group that is least interested in learning about the Internet and technology is teachers who look like they are still in high school – and I know it’s not because they have it figured out, they just feel they’ve graduated and shouldn’t have to learn any more.
- Of course, it’s archaic Cathy. But I’m afraid we’re in a liminal (look it up) place where we’ve got be all things to all people. I do find myself spending more and more time on Facebook but I don’t see a lot of us using our Facebook group site for communication. Give it a try.
- What we’re saying is that the time for excuses is past. TLs can’t AFFORD to be in a liminal state – we’re fighting for survival here! To be blunt: move on, or move out.
- Cathy, the listserv IS archaic. Here in the NYC dept. of education, we have a listserv for the school librarians. It’s a valuable source of information, but on a platform that is limited in space.
- Some will never move from their old ways.
- Cathy, AMEN—I totally agree with you!
My response to these who engaged in a “facebook” conversation via comments went like this:
- Thanks all. I chose not to respond to the archaic listserv defender, but instead work up a blog post–which by the way is where the original term “archaic” appeared. Perhaps I should be happy, as evidently this staunch defender is reading blogs (or in the least my blog,) which is a step in the right direction.
Okay so in final reflection, I see that I am not alone, but there are also many who make me see there are some who will never let go. I’ve been asked to do a session at our annual conference on communication tools. maybe that will help…too bad I already know of some die hards do not plan to attend conference either. Another friend has suggested I write an article for our quarterly journal. I’ve done it before. But it’s been a while. Maybe its time to do just that, meaning (as Doug Johnson calls them) write a BFTP (blast from the past.)