Sunday, July 10, 2011

Doorways through Which We Move: A Response to Gerald, Michael, & Kelly

I've been following a string of blog posts: Gerald Aungst's initial post via Connected Principals site, Why 'I Don't Do Technology' Is Unacceptable,  Michael Doyle's  A response to technophile and Kelly's I Do Technology, but... 

Let me begin by saying all three posts were most compelling, thoughtful in ways one might think of a gift received alongside certain surprise.  As I read (and reread) I imagined Gerald's initial response and Michael & Kelly's responses as collage that together offered insights into how point of view matters and fails to matter.  What we talk about when we talk about tech is more often a discussion about power: who has it and doesn't, how it slips and resettles, and how power obfuscates and reveals what is most desired and elusive.

I was thinking about this:

Wordle based on three posts and then some fooling around...
As I read Gerald's post I was thinking about teachers and administrators I have worked alongside who aren't cognizant that the next Gutenberg has arrived and with it unpredictable social, political, economic, geographic, and environmental changes that will (in)form how we and our children live.  I too have heard educators who almost smugly deride anything we might label "post modern technology" as if the teaching decisions they make were singularly about them, their comfort, and needs.   And boy do I get Gerald's ire, even when I don't agree fully with the hopefulness he sees via technology. 
I was wondering about Kelly's conclusion when he wrote: "my experience is that those teachers who connect with their students don’t need to use technology." I wonder if that is and will be true give the way new technologies are altering our human landscape. It seems naive to deny the potential power and responsibility of being connected via tech. I am wondering why any teacher would exclude technologies as a statement of self, given that anything, not human, is a technology. It seems an extreme point of view to maintain and one that might be quite harmful to children who are navigating in a technological world.

As I read Michael's post, I was thinking about my appendix, long gone, and wondering if perhaps some technology instead of a surgeon's bumbling hands might have helped me when I was 15 and sick post-op with peritonitis.   And even when I want this to be true, I simultaneously know everything ultimately rests in human hands.  For is it not our hands, that is the place of intersection among the three posts?

Circa 1967 (Reilly, 2008)
What rests in our hands is what makes us human, fallible, and willing to do good and to harm with the same action.  It seems to me that our capacity and willingness to hear one another, to get past language in order to find intention is what matters most (well at least most often).

So perhaps it is ritual we seek, more so then the presence and absence of that which we label, technology. I am recalling Marge Piercy who told us:

We seek not rest but transformation.
We are dancing through each other as doorways.

Perhaps then it is not technology that rests in our hands, but the grace to know one another as doorways through which we move.

Trying to Find Home (Reilly 2011)


  1. Beautiful perspective. In writing as well as in the art displayed.
    This kind of advocacy would permeate the mind of every teacher who still resists using technology.

  2. It really is useful to remind ourselves, when tech is a struggle, that pencils are tech. The technologies we can embrace now are more complex, surely, but even a pencil is useless when the point breaks, unless you have other technology (a sharpener or penknife) to help you solve the problem. Relationships are more fundamental and can't be replaced, but they do not remove or negate the opportunities for learning and expansion that technology offers us and our students.

  3. @Cristina, thanks so much. appreciate your comments.

  4. @Nancy, So appreciate how you draw connections between pencil point, a sharpener and penknife, highlighting the idea of relationships that happen among techno,ivied and of course people.Thank you.