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The old saying about technology integration was that the pedagogical horse should lead the technological cart, and not the other way around. It is about what to prioritise.

The problem with this analogy is that each can function on its own. The horse can move or be ridden independently of the cart. The cart does not need the horse (it could be decoration, just like interactive white boards).

The saying has been updated. Now some like to say that technology integration is like a driver (pedagogy) in a car (technology). This seems more current and apt unless you realise some people who say this still insist pedagogy should always lead technology.

What is the person alone? What is the car alone? Alone neither gets anywhere. They need to be integrated without one being promoted over the other in order to go on a journey and arrive at a destination.

If you use this analogy, then you must also acknowledge that technology and pedagogy go together. One is not more important than the other.

I do not travel by taxi very often, but when I do my trips often lead to interesting conversations.

On one such trip the cabbie heard a radio ad for another station that claimed to offer content for expatriates from countries like Japan, Germany, and Bangladesh.

Intrigued he switched stations straight away. He remarked how generous the station’s benefactor had to be to provide such a service. He also wondered how the station sustained itself. At a long traffic stop, he Googled for information about the station.

For the record the radio station was Expat Radio 96.3XFM and it was relaunched in 2008 after a ten-year hiatus.

For the rest of the short journey, we chatted about progressive efforts, the irrelevance of dead tree newspapers, and how his 90-year-old mother was NOT a model of lifelong learning. When he drove off, he was still listening to the Bangladeshi music that was playing at the time.

What were my takeaways from the ride?

In demand. As a consultant I meet many people with niche offerings. Not long ago, efforts like Expat Radio would seem crazy. Today they are as common as the niche eateries that dot our landscape.

Someone will always buy into your ideas. Outdated is one size fits all. In demand is custom fit.

On demand. The cabbie practiced what I call interstitial learning. It was on-demand, just-in-time, and just-for-him. It happened with the help of his mobile phone and someone to immediately bounce ideas off.

By demand. The taxi driver also flipped his learning by not just consuming content but also teaching me what he had just found out. I listened, gave feedback, and extended his sharing.

By being on demand and by demand, we covered more ground than we could have anticipated. The transitions were seamless and the topics highly engaging. All learning is like that. It is a pity that all teaching is not.

Anyway I hope the cabbie continues on his journey to be a lifelong learner. To do this, he should refrain from Googling while driving. You must have a life first to be a lifelong learner.

I was not able to chat at #edsg this week so I reviewed what my Twitter search found. This week’s topic:

As expected, folks rightly pointed out:

That is a principle I advocate too. But there are exceptions. By that I do not mean what two others highlighted:

There are times when pedagogy should not lead technology. Pedagogy should not be the driver when it is didactic, outdated, or irrelevant.

If that sort of pedagogy rules, then technology use is not transformative. The medium changes but the method does not. Worst of all, it sends a message or establishes a model that that is what technology use is like.

change by busy.pochi, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  busy.pochi 

Tom Whitby’s blog entry,¬†Why most teachers don‚Äôt know what they don‚Äôt know, prompted me to think about what drives change.

Whitby wrote: Educators are driving the changes, but technology is driving the change.

Did he mean to say that educators should be the drivers of change and that technology was the vehicle or fuel for change? Or did he mean that technology prompts or influences the need for change?

I think there is merit in both interpretations. But left to their own devices, teachers may not see the need for change even as the changes occur right under their noses. They will not drive change.

There are other effective drivers of change and they lie at opposite ends of the social spectrum.

Policymakers yield great influence even if they might be far removed from the ground. The need for the social media workshop I facilitated recently stemmed from the principal of the institute who wished to see learners engaged with it.

The learners themselves are a great motivation for change. Vendors and service providers can create all the mobile apps they wish, but if users do not adopt them, the apps might as well not exist. But once there is critical mass adoption, just try stopping that tide.

I am all for managing change from the middle (teachers). But sometimes the middle suffers from middle-age spread and inertia. So I resort to going for the head and feet instead.

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