This week Erika Beljaars-Harris takes us to a place of ‘digital resilience’ or perhaps ‘endurance’ in some instances…
William M. Ferriter is a sixth grade classroom teacher out of Raleigh, North Carolina. He is also a Solution Tree author and professional development associate, noted edublogger, and senior fellow of the Centre for Teaching Quality.
William (Bill) blogs often about his wins and losses in using technology in the classroom. One noted blog post of Bill’s was “openly sick of being digitally resilient“.
The term ‘resilient’ means the ability to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed. Synonyms for resilient include; flexible, pliable, pliant, supple, plastic, elastic, springy, rubber, durable, hard-wearing, stout, strong, sturdy and tough.
Another side of this resilience is having the patience to try again. Some may try a new technology once and when it doesn’t work, decide that it wasn’t as good as it was cracked up to be. Some may have unrealistically high expectations of technology; that it should be intuitive and can be mastered with a minimum of effort. Maybe the industry is to blame for pushing the user-friendly argument rather too often and forgetting to add that user-friendly doesn’t mean that the device or tool requires no skill. Learning takes time and involves a lot of trial and error. Mastery demands sweat and sometimes tears. Although many digital tools are fairly easy to learn at a basic level sometimes we just need to work hard to really produce impressive work.
Digital resilience also means having the confidence to use technology even if colleagues are sceptical and there is little support. Finding ways around obstacles, having the patience to test and fail till you get it right, and having the opportunity to play with the technology all support becoming digitally resilient.
The Elearning Innovation Incubator, initiated by Associate Professor Andrea Chester, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning & Teaching at RMIT, provides academics with a space to innovate and play with new and cutting edge technologies for education. Members of the group are provided with the opportunity to play with and trial tools and technologies (that they envision will be available 10 years down the track). The group works as as support network where peers can share their thoughts on using new technologies in education, some trial the tool in the classroom, and then share their experiences with the group.
Becoming digitally resilient doesn’t always mean jumping in the deep end when using a tool. Sometimes its baby steps to move to the next level of confidence to explore and use educational technologies.