This is a pivotal point in my life - ya know, the "two roads diverged in a wood" kinda thing.... Sixteen years ago I went from a Mac to a PC and never looked back. That is until I started learning about Web 2.0 and meeting people associated with this more multimedia oriented learning community.
My reflections on the pedagogy being used to engage students using digital tools has helped me appreciate implications of a new profile of student learners has for instruction. Aussie Judy O'Connell in her blog, Hey Jude: Fortunate Discoveries about Web 2.0 ..... does a fine job describing the learning characteristics of our students in an October 12, 2007 post she appropriately titled Digital kids - learning their own way.
bias towards action;
zero tolerance for delays;
Now you say what do these characteristics of our students-as-learners have to do with choosing a Mac or a PC? Let me continue that story.
Since switching to a PC, I have been tweaked by Mac users along the way; they are a loyal bunch! My daughter and son-in-law have always been Mac people because of their work in graphics and web design. My son and I have an interest in photography, and his use of a Mac for his pictures was always in contrast to my use of a PC for mine. When I asked Chris Betcher for his opinion of Macs, he did not want to influence my thinking unfairly, but he did admit that when working in a multimedia environment, he liked the Mac. John Pederson (alias ijohnpederson) is currently my scout leading the way into Apple's new operating system, Leopard. John, thank you for your helpful twits and posts on the subject. What do you think I learn from an educator who goes by iJohn?
The choice I need to made has gradually become clear to me. Given my commitment to K-12 leadership and learning, I can't accept the pedagogical orientation that refuses to adjust to the learning characteristics of the students we teach. When I add to that the realization that our culture, our economy, indeed, all facets of our way of life are headed in directions that parallel and most likely fostered the digitally oriented students who want to learn in their own way, the dilemma is clear. On one horn of the bull is a traditional orientation to student-as-learner which for me is associated with the more pragmatic oriented PC; on the other horn is the Mac. Granted, the PC world has arguably tried to keep pace with the shift that is occurring, but the Mac seems for me to have been associated with that shift for some time. Now, that perception may be nothing more that successful marketing associated with how the Mac has been branded, but I have arrived at my decision for another reason.
Learning for me is good. It stimulates my mind and keeps me feeling young and connected to the organic flow of life. I have found the most stimulating environment for my learning has been to embrace risk, to intentionally sever the orientation that provides me my current sense of security. For me, as I pursue a journey into "fortunate discoveries about Web 2.0," personally moving to a Mac just seems right. The disorientation and ambiguity I will feel as I make the transition will, at times, be frustrating in its own right, and I will reach out for "just in time" help that may or may not be available just in time, but isn't that how many of our students feel or experience the learning in our classrooms - some more often than others? Is there a better way for us to empathize with our students? Is there a better way for me to honestly position myself to need authentic student help? If you are bright, well-informed and successful educator, but can not embrace the disorientation and ambiguity associated with deep and rich new learning, how can you see yourself as a leading learner, someone who models for students what it takes to experience learning in significant ways? The dilemma is resolved....
Here I come Apple, don't let me down!