Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weather Forecasting, Education, and Technology...yes there is an analogy

So there is a winter storm coming to my section of Western Kentucky.   I have seen several forecast, but only one seems to stand out in the crowd. One News Station had a 10-15 inches graphic for our area, another news station has 3-4 inches, and a third news station has 2-6 inches.  Then you check the national websites and we have 3-4 inches and 3-6 inches.  So now, I bet you are wondering "How is the weather forecast related to educational technology?"

Let's look at that one news station; the one with 10-15 inches as a possibility.  They know it might be the more aggressive model, or the more aggressive approach.  They know it could back fire.  They know that most other weather forecasters might disagree with their forecast.  They know that other weather forecasters might not trust the same model, or maybe they are not as experienced studying that model. 

But what if they end up being right?  What if we get the 10-15 inches?  They will look like the smart ones.  They will look like the ones who took a chance.  They will be the news station that everyone will remember that got the forecast right.  They also know that if they are wrong, another weather system will come along to give them a chance to get it right.  They don't give up on the model the next time.  They just tweak how they use the model in their forecast. 

By using this forecast, their news station stands out, and makes people want to watch their news station, it also makes people talk about their forecast.  People will visit their website for more information.  And when they get it right, you will see them bragging about it in an advertisement about their news and weather during a future newscast in fact.

Educators who work at integrating technology are this news station.  They are using a different model, trying a different approach, trying to stand out in a crowd of normalcy, complacency, and the "same old, same old."  They know that there will be hiccups in using the technology, but another lesson will present itself for them to improve their lesson and technology integration techniques.  Their technology integration only enhances their lesson. 

People will want to come see how they use the technology.  People will then talk about their lesson and how they integrated technology.  That teacher will then share about how they knew the technology would work in their class.  They will write a blog post, mention it on Twitter, and share in a faculty meeting or hopefully at a District meeting.  Because when you do something that works in your classroom, you want people to know about it.

So my question to you is....which Weather Forecaster are you?


  1. I think I'm the forecast of the average of all of them. I don't want to create panic, and at the same time I don't want people outside underdressed. So I'll inform them that snow is coming, dress warm, and I'll live with the disappointment of some other "Weather Channel" catching all the positive and negative press. Cheers! :)

  2. Valid point Todd. Thanks for the comment and taking time to read my post!

  3. Love the analogy - great spin - especially since we "do" have one of those forecasters in our area :)

  4. Nice analogy Mike. There is a range of every kind of forecaster in education. For me, it depends on the day! In the end, we need to have let each other know what works more often.