Thursday, March 18, 2010

Swatting Mosquitoes with Sledge Hammers

People that I work with are often times surprised to learn that I am a HUGE techno-skeptic. I wasn't always this way, but experience has certainly proven over and over again that it is best to use the lowest form of technology when solving a problem. Just the other week I met with our science department head to devise a plan for having teachers sign up for different after school learning opportunities for a faculty meeting. I presented two solutions, one involving a Google form and one involving paper sign up sheets posted on the doors in our faculty meeting. I really encouraged her to consider selecting the option that involved the simplest form of technology-she ended up selecting the paper-based technology and this turned out to be an effective way for her to run registrations for the after school sessions.

I think this story has implications for many things we do in our schools and organizations. Just think of how many times we've applied overly sophisticated, complex and expensive solutions to solve fairly basic problems. In many cases we apply these complicated systems to solve human problems, which is recipe for disaster.

We end up using sledge hammers to swat mosquitoes when we don't make a good match between problems and solutions.

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