The Sky is Falling … AGAIN

Education is a place where we regularly hear fears about things impinging on our schools. This is particularly true when we talk about technology. Whenever a new technology approaches we sometimes hear negative reactions from the community. Technology is great until someone says it isn’t.

“The sky is falling. Save yourself!”

Let’s review some of the historical examples of technology fear:

This Trendsetter from the 70s Changed Math Classrooms Forever
  • Calculators – when these new electronic devices became widely available and affordable in the mid 70s the fear was that they would make students illiterate in math.
  • Internet – this innovation provided more immediate access to information as compared to the antiquated Dewey Decimal System card catalogue in the library. It was going to create chaos in our classrooms with rampant plagiarism.
  • Online Learning – this new type of virtual instruction was going to completely negate classroom teachers and change education into simple, rote memorization.
  • Wolfram Alpha – Introduced in 2009, this new website allowed users to generate answers to mathematic problems by using the site’s formulas. It would make learning math irrelevant and allow for rampant cheating.

None of those catastrophes happened — more on this in a bit.

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Be Vocal in Your Opposition to Racism

How often do you think about the colour of your skin?

If you’re white like me and live in Canada, my guess is that your answer is probably rarely. I may think about my whiteness every few weeks or months. If you ask a person of colour this same question you will likely hear they regularly think about their skin colour — perhaps every day. The reason is that they live in a world of ‘white privilege’ and wonder whether the words, actions or decisions by others have anything to do with their skin colour.

  • When they apply for a job, was the decision about who was appointed based on the colour of their skin?
  • When someone is rude to them, was it because they aren’t white?
  • When a person cuts in front of them, was it because they don’t look like most people in their community?

I don’t wonder whether my skin colour is the reason I am stopped at the highway check stop, if someone doesn’t speak to me in the store, or if I am bypassed for service at a coffee bar. There are surely reasons for all of these things happening, but it’s not because I’m white.

Maybe you’re thinking that I’m exaggerating or perhaps even completely wrong. If that’s the case, you’re wrong. Racism exists — it’s in our stores, in our offices and in our schools. People of colour experience it — they also think about it regularly — more than a person who is white.

“OK, so we still have a long ways to go in our society to build equality. I get that. But, that doesn’t make ME a racist. I don’t do anything because of a person’s skin colour. I’m not part of the problem.”

Hmmmm … are you sure?

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Six Types of Courage

The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz

When I think of the word COURAGE I sometimes think about the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz — although, truthfully, I never thought that was an appropriate name. He was certainly fearful and skittish, but he wasn’t a coward. He showed what it took to be brave when he travelled to Oz in search of the courage he believed he was lacking.

Spoiler Alert: The Lion always had it.

I have previously blogged about courage (The Necessity of Courage, Sept 2020), but I wanted to share some additional thoughts on the concept. As a reminder, here are a couple of points that I emphasized in my previous post:

Having Fear isn’t the Same as Lacking Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

Ambrose Redmoon

It Takes Courage to Lead Change

You build your ‘courage muscle’ daily, by being courageous in little things. Just do right.

Maya Angelou

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