Awhile back I wrote on the “professional malpractice” of failing to move teaching and learning into the 21st century. I realize there are many reasons (excuses) for failing to do so, such as inadequate resources, improper or insufficient training, restrictive administrative policies, etc. Jeff Utecht recently wrote a nice, short post on what is likely the most commonly heard excuse, “I don’t have time.” He takes something of a Heidi Hayes Jacobs “no excuses” kind of slant (which I really like). I acknowledge it’s a bit of a lazy blog post here, but, given the lack of posts by yours truly recently, anything is noteworthy. Besides, the discussion Jeff has started is worth having. If you get the chance, stop by his site and read the post and comments, then join in with your own contributions. You may disagree vehemently, but any good debate has to have two sides, doesn’t it?
The New York Times has an article today describing a research study conducted jointly by Ohio State University and the University of California. The study examined the use of instant messaging and produced some interesting observations, particularly with regards to the time element. In summary, the study determined that IM actually encouraged users to be more “strategic” and concise in their communication. Additionally, IM required less time than phone conversations or email communications. Further, users often utilized IM as a “less intrusive” means of determining whether their colleagues were available than more traditional communication tools.
The traditional route for schools has been to ban IM. It is viewed as a distraction and a time-sucking diversion, rather than a communication tool. Maybe this needs rethinking in an era where teachers’ time demands are higher than ever. So much resistance to revolutionary changes in practice has been attributed to a lack of time for learning new approaches. If IM can squeeze a few spare minutes out of a teacher’s work week, might its use in our schools be worth reconsidering?