Orange or Tom-ayto #necc09

WHAT would you like to drink? Asked the flight attendant. Well , I thought, as it’s 3am and you’ve finally returned light to the cabin after 10 hours of darkness … orange juice. To be honest I was pleased to finally experience some choice. Seat 60J is followed only by the aft cabin toilet and so far I’d have little luck in the choice department since boarding.

“I only have tom-ayto” the crew member sullenly replied . Clearly in the other isle they were pouring orange juice. “I’d like orange juice, like they have over there”, thinking this would lead him to think beyond his trolley. “Well how about tea?” he said. “No, orange juice” …”you don’t want anything?”. I gave up, it seemed that behind that perfect hair parting and dedication to routine, we were not connecting.

“No I don’t want anything other than orange juice”. By this time my allotted time was over and he’d moved on. No deviation, no adjustment at all.

I got up, walked past the now smelly aft toilet into the adjacent isle and help myself to an orange juice.

My fight is without in-flight entertainment, yet I know other airlines have it, so I am bored – and less tolerant of avoidable frustration. It struck me, as I travel to Washington to attend and present at the National Educational Computing Conference (#necc09) that teaching people to think about several solutions and NOT  ‘the’  answer is a truly important mission.

Change to routine is inevitable. Technology creates change and always has challenged humanity to change along with it. Without taking risks, thinking beyond the immediate known environment, man would have never ventured outside the cave. Let alone figure out how to take $10 off me for beer via electronic Visa at 51,000 feet.

I still baffles me why in an age of educational media influencing formal and informal learning, that teachers relish being technology adverse. The overwhelming evidence is that we are no longer in the 20th Century and the abundance of places to connect instantly to thousands of others who have trod the path ahead of us has never been easier.

I will, no doubt, be hearing a lot about ‘change being possible’,’teachers are time poor’,’the system needs to change first’ blah, but  it begs the question where it became okay to not only believe but insist that change is impossible in teaching practice.

Routine does not mean repeating the past, but adapting to the future. If we routinely offer both orange and tom-ayto then we will routinely make more people happy – or visa versa.

One thought on “Orange or Tom-ayto #necc09

  1. You’re right of course. Adapting to the future is the challenge, mainly because our kids are in fact creating and changing the future now without reliance on their digitally challenged teachers. Have fun at NECC!

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