Monday, March 14th, 2011 | software
The architect and furniture designer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was one of the main proponents of minimalism in art and other design forms. Minimalism is the notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design. Van der Rohe became famous for using the expression less is more.
The design of modern architecture, cars, furniture and other utility items are still influenced by this principle: simple, clean lines are preferred to frills.
The less is more principle could also be applied in our choice of software for schools. In many schools impressive software packages are installed but seldom – or never – used. The reason for this is that these tools are too complicated and too difficult for the average educator to understand. On the other hand, far less sophisticated software packages are embraced by teachers starting out on the ICT road. Why? Clearly because they can more readily identify with simple, practical tools.
A similar observation has been made regarding the number of software tools given to a school at the outset. In a well-meaning effort to cover all the bases, teachers may be swamped by a bewildering array of products. The result? There are too many different tools to learn; the road of least resistance for some teachers is to give up.
With the wisdom of hindsight, the best policy is to start with only one or two uncomplicated software products when they are introduced to ICT. As individual teachers mature in their use of technology, more complex programs can be added, according to their requirements. In fact, when teachers have out-grown the introductory products, most of them start to search for more appropriate ones themselves.
The successful use of technology in a school can not be measured in terms of the number and elegance of software products in their possession; success is to be measured by the degree to which these products are used to improve teaching and learning.
Before stocking up on software products, consider the wisdom of less is more.