4 things fast bowlers can teach us about ICT in schools … by @PendukaMark

Right skills at the right time

Whispering Death? White Lightening? The Rawalpindi Express? On the basis of that evidence it appears that the main thing fast bowlers can teach teachers is if you want respect get yourself a cool, scary nickname.  The thing is though teachers – like the rest of us – don’t get to choose their own nicknames. Also, in my experience, student nicknames for teachers are at best a bit rude and mildly amusing and at worst down right insulting. Anyway, Joel Garner (aka Big Bird) proves that sometimes the most benign nicknames can be attached to the most terrifying of quicks.  What else? Fling a lump of leather at your students at nearly 100 mph from 22 yards away? Be 6ft 4″ with a shock of platinum blonde hair and smear your face with white zinc sun block?  Both interesting strategies but somehow I don’t think @OfSTED would approve. So what is it that these pacemen, these Lillees, these Marshalls, these Steyns can tell us about #ICTinschools?

This is a re-blog submitted by Mark Compton-James and published with kind permission.

The original post can be found here.

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Right skills at the right time

Mitchell Starc will tell you that in the Aussie summer on their hard, fast pitches a left arm quick is what you need.  Jimmy Anderson will tell you that in the last, lazy days of an English summer with a bit of moisture in the air a swing bowler reigns supreme.  With quicks you sometimes just need horses for courses. ICT support in schools?  Well, likewise, you need the right skills at the right time.  It can’t all be done by the same person no matter how good they are.  They may be an excellent network person but then can they do servers … or virtual desktop … or web development … or requirements gathering … or SharePoint development … or Google Apps?  So either outsource to someone with a wide range of skills or get in some deep technology expertise to back up your in-house team when needed.  Just don’t expect one person to be all things to all people

Short, sustained bursts

Image by Anne-Mette Jensen (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Image by Anne-Mette Jensen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Focus. Four or five targeted overs – when the pressure is on – will have maximum impact.  That is what achieves results.  As the light is fading on the fourth day with a disintegrating pitch, that is when Dale Steyn will tear through any batting line up in the world.  Likewise ICT.  It isn’t a panacea but introduce it into a lesson at the right time, to illuminate a particular point or to engage a particular class and the result can be stupendous. And remember, the best users of ICT in the classroom know when not to use it.

Don’t be afraid to fail

A lot of test cricket aficionados will tell you that Atherton vs Donald in the 2nd innings at Trent Bridge 1998 is as good as test cricket gets.  Atherton famously ended on 98 not out, seemingly gaining a victory over his long-time rival.  Donald will tell you that maybe he didn’t get Atherton out that day but he learned more about himself, about his strengths and weaknesses, about Atherton, about how to think a batsmen out than from any other spell in his career.  And he used that rip England apart and skittle Atherton countless times in the future.  So when using ICT, try something new, try something different, take a risk.  It is the only way we can innovate.  Sometimes it will work.  Sometimes it won’t.  But you will always, always learn something.

Hunt in pairs

Lillee and Thomson?  Holding and Roberts?  Waqar and Wasim?  Donald and Pollock?  They were always at their best together, steaming in from either end and sharing the burden. This is especially true of ICT coordinators in secondary schools.  The changes to the #computingcurriculum, the integration of ICT across all subjects, the relentless change and advent of #BYOD and the consumerisation of IT make the role of ICT Coordinator practically a full time job.  Where I have seen it done effectively is when it is taken on by two teachers.  Not only does it share the load but it gives them a sparring partner, someone to test ideas on, confide in and be just as enthusiastic.  If your ICT coordinator ploughs a lone furrow you may end up with someone like Bob Willis – occasionally brilliant, undoubtedly talented but in the end an outsider who never quite achieved that of which he was capable.

They say all fast bowlers are mad.  I think that’s probably true but to be honest a lot of the good teachers I know are half nuts as well so there is a natural connection there. So there might be something teachers can learn from those gentleman thugs dressed in white, these d’Artagnans of the 5 day game.  But please … for the love of all that is holy … don’t start sledging your students and don’t grow a Merv Hughes moustache.

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