Light a candle

All of us have by now experienced some kind of problem with machines and new technologies are no exception, be they an automatic washing machine or a mobile phone. Living and working with and around technology is not just a story of benefits, but also a story of problems, uncertainties, demands and conflicts. The new tablet will probably fall within this category as well. I believe that nothing under the sun is perfect although from my point of view as a member of the adjudication board on the tablets tender I can now say that we made the best decision and we have the best product that met all the criteria that will help us deliver a better education to our learners. As I said, with our choice of tablets there are benefits that are immediately visible but there are for sure limitations or challenges that will crop up as we start using the hardware. Now depending on the kind of person you are, I believe that you can either drown the benefits under certain limitations or else find a way around challenges and continue with your job.

candleSeveral people are associated with the saying, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness,”  notably Eleanor Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. It was brought to the public’s attention in December 1961 by Peter Benenson, the English lawyer and founder of Amnesty International. I have always been a person who tried to do my best with what I have rather with what I could have. I have been an avid user of Flash from the beginning of its inception onto the Net and learning some advanced programming along the way. My colleague and I won the NICTAA award in 2006 for the “SSr” a Flash based automatic assessment system that was used in our schools for a short period of time. Unfortunately Flash is no longer supported by most tablets and some of my friends have been saying for quite a long time that, “Flash is on its way out,” and, “Flash is dead”. I resisted this statement for some time as I am still attached to the potential of Flash. Now that this issue is sinking in (I still resist calling it a fact) I have to face the reality that most tablets do not support it. Should I start cursing the tablets? It is not in my character. I prefer to find other ways and means to achieve my objectives. I will always try to support and work with the benefits offered by technology rather than refuse it because it does not come up to my expectations.

This is what I wish for all of you when experiencing the LearnPad Workbook, or any other technology for that matter. Weigh the benefits against the challenges. When looking at the whole and very wide picture, the tablet was chosen for its benefits not for its limitations. Every tablet on the market can be put down for some limitation or other. Work on the benefits. On the other hand I believe that great educators show their true mettle when they circumvent challenges, difficulties and obstacles, offer solutions and light a candle.

Both images: labeled for noncommercial reuse

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