This quick post is my comment to Larry Ferlazzo’s interesting post on how to bring reluctant educators to use technology:
I’d like to add another simple way to bring reluctants closer to technology: Etherpad. I have this committee which is scattered in 6 different schools. Most of its’ members are rather low-tech in terms of online collab stuff. We had to draft a plan together but getting everyone in one spot was just not justifiable, expense-wise. The initial suggestion was “conference call” over the phone (I dread these). Personnally, I was ready, willing and able to lead them through an Adobe Connect Pro session, using different features to build a document together, but for most, this platform was just too complicated to handle. I then thought of Google Docs, but we needed to have some synchronous interaction in order to build together. Anyway, most didn’t know Google beyond its classic Search engine. Soooo, I thought I’d meet them halfway. “OK, let’s have that conference call over the phone, but everyone, please log in to this web page.” I had sent them an Etherpad blank page and at the time of the call, everyone had logged on and it took me 5 minutes to have them understand that anyone could add to the page. The flood gates had opened and in 35 minutes, we had a solid draft that everyone saved to their computer. Since, most have used Etherpad on other projects.
There was a sense of relevancy (job had to be done), user-friendliness (Etherpad is so easy to work with), and sense of ownership (document was co-constructed; everyone chipped in).
Demystifying web tools is the key!