The Hobbit trilogy is one of the best ever made. In fact, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is equally as good. One reason I love these movies so much is because they illustrate the struggle between the safe and the new.
This film so vividly tells the tale of how those adventures we are so reluctant to join in often become the most meaningful. In the beginning of The Hobbit trilogy our hero, Bilbo Baggins, is completely against leaving his comfortable home to explore the world around him. As Gandalf (the leader of the group) puts it, “I am looking for someone to share in an adventure.”
Even though Bilbo states that he does not want any adventures…he eventually joins Gandalf and a handful of dwarves as they travel Middle Earth. Bilbo is honest, reluctant, and uneasy about the unknown. When it comes to educational technology we tend to take a page from Bilbo’s book. We hear of new resources or new equipment and many of us go into panic mode. We are reluctant to take on “one more thing”…we don’t see it as an adventure.
It may not be fair for me to champion this cause though, after all I am an educational technologist. Of course, I would like to think of myself more as a Gandalf of educational technology…I just want people to share in an adventure. I want people to delight in the possibilities of the unknown. We may not have the dwarves of Middle Earth, but we do have our students. How much more memorable might an adventure be if teachers and students joined together to explore the possibilities? A new piece of equipment, new software, new online resources, or new expectations about how you use technology in your classroom can be overwhelming, stressful, and frightening. Don’t let fear and anxiety rule how you respond to these changes, because it can be an adventure.
If you don’t know how to use a piece of equipment, ask your students…they will respect you all the more for seeking their help. If you don’t know how to integrate software or an online resource, ask your students how they might like to use it. They may surprise you and they may suggest that you not use something…after all, effective use of technology does not mean you use ONLY technology. Even Bilbo didn’t rely on the RING all the time.
By the end of The Hobbit series (The Battle of the Five Armies) Bilbo has changed…he allowed the adventure to change him. [spoiler] In the last moments of his life, dwarf leader Thorin recognizes how much Bilbo has changed from loving what made him comfortable to what made him incredible.
Change is hard…it is messy….it is uncomfortable. I think if most of us are honest with ourselves we rarely enjoy change, but usually are pleased with the results. So, I challenge you like Gandalf challenged Bilbo…
I am looking for someone to share in an adventure.