Be Not Afraid of the Hyperlink

(original photo by Michael Nagle, Getty Images) 
We can't and shouldn't expect all educators to spontaneously understand emerging technologies, social networking and the rich proliferation of tools and apps available for learning these days.

One thing stands out right away, however, as I lead workshops on the read/write web and social networking for educators: teachers who have the most immediate success adopting and applying web-based technology to their situation are those that are not afraid to click hyerlinks.

As a member of my school district's technology committee, I am in the process of identifying what teacher's technology proficiencies should be. Questions being considered are: What tech skills are indispensible going forward? Is it OK that teachers are at varying levels with regard to technology use? What do we do about this fact? What separates those that 'know and can do' and those that do not (or won't)?

With regard to the last question, I think it really comes down to basic curiosity which is the precursor to learning anything. Curiosity + critical thinking (knowing what resources have value) + risk taking= learning and transformation. The risk taking in question with regard to web-based technology use is the aforementioned click factor. Either one clicks a link (and risks) finding a shoddy site or a gold mine of information and/or connections to others that can feed an entire teaching unit or full curriculum, or one sits and stares at one site (and gains and learns very little).

Based on these observations, I believe what we really need to be building into professional development these days is the 'capacity to click' in our teachers. Clearly, it is necessary to teach specific tech-based skill sets (uploading, downloading, sharing, bookmarking, subscribing, etc...) but if teachers would use crictical thinking to do targeted searches and then not be afraid to click with abandon, they will be able to learn much on their own.

It is how I learned. But I was unafraid to click (to find out). I was interested to 'know' about things. This drive to learn is alive in me every day. I know I am not alone. Every single person I am connected to in my personal learning networks shares this trait with me. Why are we like this? Was it learned? What life experiences differentiate clickers from non-clickers? And how do we build that capacity (curiosity) in others?

Be not afraid of the hyperlink.  You just might learn something. I'm reading: Be Not Afraid of the Hyperlink Tweet this!

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