Sunday, May 23, 2010

Who's Packing Your Parachute?

You've heard lots of hype about the book, "What Color Is Your Parachute?"  Well, the topic of this entry pertains to parachutes, but it's not about color.  It's not about parachute texture.  It's not about fear of parachutes (and all the activity that comes with a parachute).  It's not even about how to search online to find the cheapest parachute.


Rather, let's examine one of the most essential aspects of parachute care and handling — the packing of the parachute!

If asked to describe the purpose of a parachute, we would talk about how it protects the jumper as s/he leaves the airplane and descends to the ground.  We might even talk about how some parachutes can be "steered" by jumpers so they can hit a target.  But, I venture to guess that we would never mention the importance of proper parachute packing.

Just as with the integration of technology into learning environments, there is quite a bit of important planning that must occur in order for the parachute to achieve maximum value.  The person who performs the packing procedure must know the purpose for which that parachute is to be used.  It may be necessary to have many more elements of information, and for those elements to be given careful, strategic thought.  Perhaps, there is even a set of instructions available to aid the parachute packer.

If the packer is negligent, lazy, or doesn't consider carefully the importance of the packing task, it is conceivable that the jumper's life will be in danger.

If, during technology planning activities, we don't consider carefully the full impact that technology can have upon the lives of young learners, are we not being irresponsible, just as the aforementioned parachute packer?

However, if we technology planners are as deliberate, careful, and focused as a great parachute packer, we have the potential to enhance, significantly, the quality of learning interactions each learner has with various technologies.

It's worth our time, energy, and efforts to ensure that we think of ourselves as important to technology-enhanced learned as we consider the parachute packer to be for a successful jump from that airplane high in the air!

Think about it!