25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #24 Do not contribute to education technology discussions

Intellectual DiscussionThere is little I find more annoying than being lectured to by people who have all the answers, but do not engage in (rational) discussion on the subject. 

For example, a deputy headteacher once informed me that his school was going to spend thousands of pounds on instruction technology known as “integrated learning systems”, and that they were going to get the least able students to work on them all day.

I told him that some recent research said that the benefits of such systems was short-lived if all you did was use them and nothing else, and that such intensive use of them was counter-productive anyway. This had no impact at all, because

Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #20 Be persistent

One of the most irritating things about children – but also one of the most endearing – is their tendency to ask lots of follow-up questions. They are never fully satisfied with the answer to their original question: each answer leads to a further enquiry. I think that ICT leaders can learn much from children in this respect.

There are two areas in which this sort of dogged persistence can pay off.

Read More

Yes / No - Ummm.....!

"If you have a position that requires an opinion to be made then you have to give one. It may not tie in with the rest of the team but it may actually be the opinion that makes the difference."

Julia Skinner gives her opinion on the importance of having -- and expressing -- an opinion.

Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #18 Don’t ask questions

You’d think that giving people in your team the freedom to teach ICT how they like would be met, by them a least, with unbridled enthusiasm. You’d think that the best way to get on with your boss would be to offer no resistance to his latest idea, even if you secretly believe it is completely nuts. You’d think that not challenging your students when they proudly show you the results of their programming or desktop publishing efforts would be much better than the opposite, lest their (supposedly) fragile self-esteem be damaged.

You’d be wrong.

Read More

Is More Too Much?

Terry’s article ’25 Ways to make yourself Unpopular – Too Much Information ‘starts by reminding us the phrase is often heard in a social setting when stories are being retold and get a little too near the knuckle for comfort. In terms of getting things done however, surely it is not possible to have ‘too much information’? The more you have, the easier the job will be – yes?
Read More

The Blank Paper

When I read Terry’s article ’25 Ways to make yourself unpopular – Be Flexible’ I have to admit to feeling embarrassed! I was that person who had been invited to contribute an article and I was that person who asked lots of ‘what about...’ questions!

I have reflected on why that was the case and this is my defence!

Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #15 Don’t be perfect

If there is one thing that’s guaranteed to intimidate a newcomer to educational technology, it’s the perfection and poise of the long-established practitioner. “I’ll never be able to do that”, they think to themselves – and that thought in itself can prevent them learning anything new, or at least learning it as quickly as they might do.
Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #14 Be over-cautious

hazardous areaThere is no better way to quell enthusiasm and induce frustration than to respond to a “brilliant idea” by saying, “Yes, but what about…”. One of the things you learn from experience is that there are always unintended consequences, and part of the leader’s job is to try and think of what they could be, and to help other team members do the same. In the sphere of educational technology, there is ample scope for unfortunate outcomes.

Read More

Managing the Leading

Julia Skinner disagrees with Terry's analysis of people who manage but don't lead.

As consumers ( in the real world) when things go wrong we call for the Manager. That role holds power. Power to sort out difficulties. Power to have answers to customers questions and queries. In retail particularly it is the aim of those career minded youths to work their way up to management and the exulted places they are considered to be.

Read More

The 25 Ways series: Retro Response #1

This is the first in what I hope to be a regular spot here on ICT in Education. Terry has kindly invited me to respond some of the articles in his series ’25 things to Make Yourself Unpopular’. The posts will be like an extended comment & I hope you will feel able to comment on them & visit me over at The Head’s Office.
Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #12 Be too flexible

One of the things I’ve discovered is that a lot of people need, or at least want, tightly-defined boundaries. I’ve found this to be the case not only in the management roles I’ve had, but even as an editor of Computers in Classrooms and the ICT in Education website.
Read More

25 ways to make yourself unpopular: #11 Ask questions

It’s a very sad thing, I think, but one thing I have discovered is that if you ask questions, or at least the wrong type of questions, that’s a sure-fire way of attracting opprobrium. A strong word to use, perhaps, but there is little doubt in my mind that daring to question the current conventional wisdom is indeed often regarded as shameful, and usually indicative of not having fully understood the situation.

For example, a lot of people think that one device per child is a good thing to aim for. It certainly sounds admirable, especially in the context of wanting to reduce the digital divide. But when it comes to making purchasing decisions in a school, is it the most sensible or desirable target to aim for? The questions I would ask here are:

Read More