‘He is wintering out
the back end of a bad year,
swinging a hurricane lamp
through some outhouse’
Seamus Heaney: Servant Boy.
In Northern Ireland, the phrase “to winter out” means “to see through and survive a crisis”. I do wonder how many of us will ‘winter out’ this next period in education? Its going to be a ‘long, cold winter’ and those of us who believe in the true power of new technology to enable learning will be sorely tried in the short term. We have an espousal of a schooling system that was out of date when I was at school in the 60’s and we have signals that anything ICT related is ‘fair game’. It is hard to conceive that those of us in the leading edges of ICT and learning development were referring to the ‘new landscapes’ merely a year ago with hope and expectation – now those new landscapes look bleak and perhaps with a layer of permafrost forming already on them.
Can the new technology survive? Well it has to – for the sake of the country (others will not be taking a trip back to a sham 1950’s boarding school ethos in the rest of the world) and for the sake of the learners, who we know thrive with these new approaches.
I am constantly heartened by the missionaries that are still spreading the word, and doing so by exploiting the technology that is out there – and not being disheartened by the nay-sayers.
As the Condems release schools from the shackles of any real form of policy and central direction many will think – and say- ‘thankfully we can get back to proper stuff without having to ‘kow tow’ to this new fangled fad of computers etc….
What we need is to keep the lamps burning in the assorted outhouses and bide our time – its going to be mighty cold and chilly – but if we hang on there will be a spring at some time!
And of course the school will have the ability to choose how to do things – so the message has to be delivered to them, and not though some Government or Agency – that didn’t work! Time for some travelling the highways and byways – especially the digital ones!