A couple of days ago, driving into my housing complex, I got stuck behind a Ferrari F40. I was in a hurry to get home and the Ferrari was trundling along at a slow pace – in fact there was quite a queue building up behind us. After honking my horn a couple of times (bad form, I know, but how often do you get to pick on a Ferrari driver?) I overtook him and left him eating my dust.
I drive a clunky Daihatsu jeep with an engine about an eighth of the size of the F40. The only reason I was able to overtake it was because it was driving so slowly. The driver was going so slowly because the roads of Indonesia – even in a nice area – are littered with foot-deep potholes and randomly placed rocks. That’s probably why people drive jeeps and not ground-hugging supercars.
Also this week I have been working with my high school economics students on a variety of Web2.0 tools including Wikis at the wonderful wetpaint.com. Our web access (or wireless network) let me down a few times and a couple of the lessons were close to being write-offs as my students stared blankly while screens took ten minutes to load.
In my frustration, I started feeling a little like the Ferrari driver. Here I was with this amazing new tool that I just wanted to open up and let rip with in the classroom and I was hampered by the infrastructure. (Internet access in Indonesia is often slow and unreliable). In fact, it got to a stage where a lesson plan based around a photocopied handout (the educational equivalent of a clunky old jeep) could outperform my carefully crafted multimedia-based lesson.
Fortunately, I have not had to give up my hopes of basing my lessons around Web 2.0 technology. Subsequent discussions have led to an upgrade both in our broadband connections and our internal wireless network that we will be taking for a test drive over the next few weeks.
My dreams of hitting 200mph in the classroom are not dead yet…