Dan Meyer has this ingenious analogy he calls The Math Dial.
He says that we spend too much time arguing over whether a math problem is contextually “real” or not, when we should really be asking if it has multiple entry points. “If you can guess about it, if you can argue about it,” he says, then “it’s in your real world.”
Meyer argues that starting teaching with the math dial turned low where all students may have points of cognitive entry makes the attainment of the skills, processes, and concepts far more equitable.
I think there’s an educational technology dial, too.
Too often we jump to the highest point of entry which can only be reached by our “techie” high flyers. We do this because it is intuitive to teach digital technologies with, well, the digital technology. But I would argue that there are plenty of times to be counter-intuitive in this regard and go analogue instead. Remember that the savvy individuals who have built up an (often unconscious) assortment of skills, processes, and understandings to quickly grasp new digital technologies are not the ones who need a Twitter or Google Drive workshop. We need to meet learners where they are.
Paper Twitter is a process I’ve borrowed, unsurprisingly, from many of my friends on Twitter. I’ve put my own little spin on it to quite a bit of success, so I wanted to put it out in the world. I have shared my Google folder with you (with instructions for facilitation in the notes of the slides) in hopes that it will inspire you to think a little differently about your next Ed-Tech workshop. You are free to reuse, remix, and share. Again, just like in mathematics learning, remember that you are not trying to teach a procedure, but a concept. The tools forever change. We cannot rely on prescriptive approaches to mastering them. The purpose of Paper Twitter is not only to deconstruct how the technological aspects of the social media machine works, but also to tone down the figurative volume so that the point of it as a personal, social networking tool can be grasped through, well, social interaction, not initial solitude behind a screen.
I hope you have fun trying it out. Let me know how it goes, and/or how you tweaked it for your learners’ context!