Can We Dial The Hype Machine Down A Little Bit?

Okay, just so I’m clear, this is the next educational paradigm? Really? ¶ Rhetorical question: Wld yo– –u re–ad b–log writ – te –– en liike thi–s? ¶ Ustream offers a choppy, low-res medium, one in which I’ll doubtlessly dabble soon, but one which pushes unedited, free-associative thought onto the careless vodcaster. I’m seeing streamcasts circling for thirteen minutes the same point one could make in a coupla body paragraphs. ¶ At least it’s new, though. New’s important. [via Vicki Davis]

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately too. Where will the tipping point be when I say to much new technology. Ustream is the fad of the moment in education blogs right now. Almost everyone is writing about it. VoiceThread was last month, Second Life all last spring. I don’t hear much about Second Life in the ed blogs anymore.

    I’m in my fourth year teaching so I have the math curriculum down. I can spend time developing some lessons with some of the new technologies (I do already use a lot of technology). But I changed schools this year and boom, “Your teaching reading and science this year too. Also, we don’t have any reading materials yet, so just do Literature Studies.” Thats all fine. I can do this, but it’s time consuming (I do have reading materials now, but I enjoy doing the lit studies more). I’m very near the tipping point where I don’t want to try anything new with technology or the fad of the month.

    I don’t want to try out Second Life. I don’t want to use Twitter. I have a flickr account but haven’t posted to it in months. I think I”m set pretty well with the technology I use. I don’t really want to add anything right now.

    I say all this today, but I have next week off for fall break. I’ll probably need something to use as my procrastination excuse for not planning lessons (and Vegas is only a 5 hour drive).

  2. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t take the recent Ustream push (haven’t you heard? All the cool kids are using Operator 11 now!) as anything but, “Hey, here’s a neat new tool – could it be valuable?”

    If the answer is yes, then great – come up with a pedagogically sound plan and incorporate the technology, as we’ve seen you do on your blog. For the most part, a good lesson should run well with or without the technology; the exceptions might be when you’re facilitating collaboration/communication with remote sites via Skype, wikis, &c. Even in those cases, though, the pedagogy should drive the technology, not the other way around.

    Perhaps I’m naive, but all I see are some early adopter-types getting excited about new toys and sharing with others, brainstorming about potential applications. Is that such a bad thing? Have I missed the Ustream groupies who have ditched their lesson plans and gone all vodcasty on us?

  3. Dan, I seriously touched on the hype topic without seeing your post until just now. Just shows how quickly it can all spread. When the hype clouds a balanced look at something new (tool, keynote, idea) and becomes something “that everyone is talking about” or “the world has changed as we knew it………within 1 week“, then it does indeed need to be dialled down bigtime. And I’m sure some noses will be put out of joint if and when they sense that not everyone shares their point of view.

    I did like this snippet from the comments of my post from Diana – “I would also temper some of the hype, but I think the most important thing is to concentrate on how any of these tools improves teaching and learning. Let’s hype that!”

  4. The thing is — we don’t know if it will work in the classroom until we’ve tried it out and thoroughly tested it. Unlike predecessors of these technologies these are social technologies and we need to TRY THEM OUT.

    I will not make a lesson plan with a technology until I #1 know it is safe and #2 know it works at least somewhat stably. That is malpractice.

    So, it may seem like a lot of hype but I think it is more saying — OK, guys let’s test this out.

    This is where we’re heading — we’re heading to live streaming in the classroom and between classrooms for FREE. It may not be ustream it is DEFINITELY NOT Operator 11 — NOT NOT NOT. I saw enough tonight, although I like the ability, I DO NOT LIKE THE SETUP. Stay awy from it for now, even for staff development.

    How would I know that without twitting and saying — guys come over here and look?

    I wouldn’t call it hype but rather — hyper. Hyper because we all love trying new things and we’re trying to figure it out to see if it WILLWork.

    When it works — I’ll create lesson plans, think it through and share it.

    But somebody has to try these things out for the rest of us. I have played with it these last two days b/c I’m in Maine and not at home — others are at conferences as well. And yes, there will be another tool next month and another the next month.

    And you have the initial, what many are calling the “hype” stage but I prefer to call the “hyper” stage where we all are learning about it and playing and then the work happens.

    Yes, there are people in SL doing some great things. They’re not talking a lot about it. There are some great things coming with Open Sim.

    Just know that this is what happens. Change happens and it happens quickly. Evolution of tools is viral and we talk about it. And if you’re not comfortable being a beta tester, don’t do it.

    However, if you look at the video you linked to — I was on hotel wifi — If you look at another video I was on with a better network — it was better.

    So, it is not there yet — but let me ask you this — when I had a nanotechnologist in last year — whynot have him talk to 200 school kids rather than just 30 live in this way? Doesn’t this give us some great potential as it evolves and improves?

    Don’t rush to judgement — I haven’t either. The jury is still out on ustream. I’m not ready to take it to students — although for staff development I think it is fine. For Operator 21 — I think it is out of the question.

    However, let me give you a caveat. Your kids are using it. If they’re using it, you’d better be talking about it — what is proper, what is not.

    It is here whether you like it or not. Live learn evolve. Do what is pedagogically sound and excellent in the classroom.

    Don’t run in “loosey goosey” get your act together before going to the classroom.

    So, you can call it hype, I just call it hyper. And yes, I’m hyper about live streaming — but not ready to “hype” it in your classroom until I’m ready to try it in mine.

  5. Dan, I ‘agree’ with you.

    For my poor part, I am going to keep my blog on blogger (there’s this whole, wordpress evny thing going on). I will have a lame url which includes the lame word ‘blogspot’.

    And people will think that I have less to say.

    And I will no longer jump into every pool, every virtual environment just to be in it.

    Cause here’s the thing…the vast majority of these ‘early adopters’ / users / lovers of usernames,passwords,and avatars, are NOT in the classroom.

    They hover around it…until they get to go to a conference, speak at a conference, and unconference their way to self-absorption.

    And they marvel over tools that, if they got their heads out from beneath their egos, they would realize the students have zero interest in…no matter the sales pitch.

    Sell me something real for once.

  6. As long as you can say “New’s Important”, you’re very much a part of the hype machine. Thanks for playing.