I’ve been looking for a possible mobile application for in-service and pre-service teachers to connect to each other and to other social media tools. I thought that it would be really useful for teachers to start using blogs, photo sharing, social bookmarking etc a network with other professionals as part of their tertiary training. Last week my grand plan came to sticky end. I asked the question – “Is Twitter or Facebook the way to go” on Twitter and Facebook. Sadly the only feedback I received was….silence.
It felt a bit like my DJ days, wondering if anyone was listening to me on my Sunday evening slot on community radio. After waiting for 24 hours (and checking to see if people were reading (bit.ly assured me they were), I concluded that
1) Friends and followers couldn’t care
2) They did not feel that they were able to answer
3) I was asking the wrong question.
If you can’t access the Internet on your phone (or don’t see the need), then asking what application to choose from is a silly question. Yes, cell phones are more pervasive ICTS in KZN schools (even doing better than the telephone), but it’s not automatic that teachers make use of the features built into most modern phones. I suffer from this common problem. I try to run when all I should be doing is crawling.
Take me (for example). Until a month ago, my dinosaur (inherited from my sister in law) sat in my top drawer waiting to be charged. My R50 pay as you go account that I added two years ago has not been renewed. When SMSing, I take me 10 mins or longer (predictive text does not work on my phone). Getting mobile has challenged my technological skills. Clearly, it’s taken a long time to master this technology, and I’m using the word master very loosley.
Teachers might be in a similar position. But I fon’t know. Optimistically I’m going to assume that I received no answer to my question was because of Option 2 and 3. Yes, I was asking the wrong question. And not too many of my Friends and followers are pre-service or in-service teachers. So, let’s rephrase our enquiry. Instead of getting excited about the 50 million active cell phones in the country or the 34 million users. Let’s see if we can find out about their tech skills.
If you are a teacher or going to be a teacher, please answer this questionnaire regarding mobile phone usage. It’s short and pretty anonomous. And I’ll feel a little less like a sad DJ talking to himself on a Sunday evening.