Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crisis or Opportunity?

Don't you just love it when the pieces begin to come together? Recent opportunities have allowed me to read The Thin Book of Naming Elephants and hear Will Richardson. I really didn't expect these two events to be related but I found a connecting idea.

The book encourages its readers to avoid the tendency to place blame. Instead a "surprise should be an opportunity to review and reexamine the system, our assumptions and choices" and "an opportunity to grow". I particularly liked the reference to Paul Romer's terminology "waste of crisis" which emphasises the short window of opportunity to take advantage of a difficult situation. Yes, take advantage. Desperate times can open the door to new approaches and new solutions. Legislators and administrators may be willing to consider alternate tools and funding allocations when times are tough.

In his presentation at the NCTIES Conference, Will Richardson suggested that during the current financial crisis, we may discover that digital is cheaper. What if we compare the cost of technology tools verses consumable tools? What if we fully utilize the power of technology to cut the cost of day-to-day supplies? What if teachers don't need to hoard and fight over paper?

Let's explore the possibilities and open some new doors. Let's think differently about our day to day procedures and welcome new approaches. Let's look outside the box for resources and tools to meet our needs.

Let's not waste the crisis.

Hammond, Sue A., and Andrea B. Mayfield. Thin Book of Naming Elephants. Bend, OR: Thin Book Publishing Company, 2004.

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