Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Geaux Tide?!?!

I'll be the first to admit.... last night's game was more than a little unimpressive. I think Musburger hit the nail on the head when he called it a slaughter. No team had EVER been completely shut out in a BCS bowl game much less the national championship. Sitting through the game (how uncomfortable it was), I channeled my energy somewhere else (make that anywhere else) and shortly realized that Les Miles (that's the LSU head coach) was doing the exact same thing that many teachers do with technology. Case in point?

Jordan Jefferson is the LSU starting quarterback; he played the whole game last night. Some will argue that most of the loss for LSU can be put square on the shoulders of the quarterback. He made mistake after mistake after intercepted mistake. Sitting on the bench? That was backup quarterback Jarrett Lee. The obvious question is then, "Why did the coach not change his game plan?" Obviously what he was doing just wasn't working! 

Analysts will theorize that Coach Miles didn't put in Lee because of his pitiful record when LSU played Alabama earlier in the season. Certainly, this seems reasonable. Lee threw consecutive interceptions and dropped the ball on a snap. For non-football fans out there, let's just say he had a "terrible, rotten, no-good, very bad day"! (For teachers, it is the same feeling as the technology just not working, powering up, etc.) Jefferson came to the rescue and the team continued the season undefeated.... until last night. 

Letting geaux (go) of my heated feelings for the game, I'll return to how Les Miles is really using the same game plan as a number of teachers and school districts. He had tried something new at the beginning of the season by putting in Lee as the starting quarterback. (long back story of suspensions and bar fights). He kept with it as long as it worked. As soon as the going got tough for Lee, he pulled him out and reverted back to what he had always used. Last night when the going got tough again, he still stayed with what he had always used instead of giving the 'new' another chance. 

Time and again we hand teachers and schools something new and flashy. With enough training and prodding, they will usually give it a go as long as it is working. As the days go by and the tech support and integrationists leave for other projects, sometimes the going gets tough. Then teachers revert back to what they have always known leaving the new and flashy to sit the bench. Time continues to march on and the new and flashy still sits the bench. After all, why change the game plan when everything seems to be working just fine? But then, the going gets tough again, and the new and flashy still sits the bench. Why? Why don't we change the game plan again? Because of the TTWWADI effect. (That's the Way We've Always Done It). 

It's time for a new game plan! (Les Miles, pay attention!) It's ok (even encouraged) to mix the and old. Why select just one when you have the advantage of having both? Try something new for a while. If it doesn't work for the exact task at hand, bench it until you need it again. That may be until the next assignment (or play) or maybe even until the next unit (or quarter). But don't bench it for the whole game. Get some training for that new iPad or whiteboard or cell phone in your classroom. Try it in another way. Let your student's be your trainer. It may just save the game!