2023-11-29 21:45

Kobus van Wyk

 The e-pioneer treats the root cause of apathy.

It is not enough merely to fight apathy.  The e-pioneer must address the reason why a teacher is apathetic towards the use of technology.

Apathy can often be traced to a lack of feeling challenged.  When technology is not available in a school, a teacher may feel disinterested – when confronted by its introduction in the school, it is easy to shrug it off as something of little importance.

The e-pioneer can turn on the heat in simple ways to shake a teacher out of a state of apathy.  Add one or more challenges to the training program:

Refuse to communicate in any other way than e-mail.  This will challenge the teacher to adapt to this form of communication.  Many e-pioneering principals have found this to be a good strategy.

Make training notes available in the form of blog postings.  This may challenge the teacher to appreciate the value of this mode of sharing information.  A technology integrator or a curriculum advisor may find this a useful way to distribute knowledge to a large number of teachers in different schools.

Give advice by providing a reference to a website.  This will challenge the teacher to engage with the internet.

A simple challenge, used judiciously, can be a powerful antidote for apathy.

Click here for more food for thought for e-pioneers.


  1. Emails, blogs and websites are wonderful training tools. I’d like to add text messages and mobile feeds to this list. Sometimes people ignore everything else, but they don’t ignore their cell phones!

  2. The suggestion you would make of using e-mails, blogs etc will be ignored too. Look at our own facilitators.

    Communication in schools are poor with telephone lines down (due to non-payment and theft), faxes not working, internet used up within a week or two, networks/servers down for a week or three (due to electricity being down everyday) etc. etc. Our internet connections, despite being satellite connections are still very slow and unreliable ( I can explain this one but it will take too long). My favourite one are all the nasty viruses lurking on these networks. That is the reason I will not put my flash stick in at any school and just print. I have lost too much data from school whose antivirus says it is up-to-date and we are still sticking to Windows. I have to copy a doc to an empty stick, use it on their networks, plug it back into my laptops and hope AVG or Clamwin will catch the virus or malware. Viruses slow the networks down to a crawl.

    I am not being negative, but I have since our blogging started advertised them in almost every training session. I also took educators through blogging sessions.

    I am stating the reality. The antidote for getting the message is to use a warm body and a car to pass it to another warm body. It is not that I don’t use electronic media. I mail, blog, sms, phone (my cell bills are always high) and I follow up. Why must I go through so much trouble to get a simple message across? I wonder if we withdraw totally from all schools whether we will be missed electronically or otherwise?

  3. Talking about communication being poor in schools, some people don’t even talk to each other.

  4. Mark i think people( read Educators) can ignore the value of e-mail, blogs and websites at their own peril-simply because those are not only the dominant communication modes of the future but of the present.

    Sometimes i just wonder how much people are missing by failing to blog, not reading websites and even missing out on the convenience of e-mails. We should not despair in our pursuit of the common good, emphasize and re-emphasize the value of the electronic medium. Lead by example by making sure all your correspondence is via e-mail, choose to read, in their presence, only electronic versions of your Argus or Die Burger. Such small steps can make a huge impact. An e-pioneer, as said earlier, is very patient.

  5. We have been leading by example in East. Two team members regularly blog on Kobus’ blog as well as our own Khanyaeast blog that was started by our coordinator. We advertised these blogs to death. Two of us have also blogged on the GET blog, Tech blog, science blog and maths blog. In many of our training sessions where we had access to internet we went to these blogs to show how people could contribute to a discussion in any way. To WCED officials we did the same. If we were not ambassadors of electronic media then I don’t know what else we could do to be that?

    On my own I have two blogs, I’m on Facebook, I tweet from time-to-time, I am on identi.ca (same as twitter) and scout news articles. I do internet banking, buy things online and the like. I have no blocks on my internet so my children (12 and 8) freely use it. They know the rules. I relate all these incidences to people, not to brag but to convince them that we can do things electronically if we have the will.

    After being in the project for so many years I am sure people can use their own initiative to use ICT. They are no longer crawling babies. They should be getting up. As for patience, mine is wearing thin by now (my 7th year).

  6. I am not going to give Mark C full marks or 100%, but 100000% !!!! …. for his comment re Digital Technology in general ….. re the COMMUNICATION component !!!!.

    Mark C said: “The antidote for getting the message is to use a warm body and a car to pass it to another warm body. It is not that I don’t use electronic media. I mail, blog, sms, phone (my cell bills are always high) and I follow up. Why must I go through so much trouble to get a simple message across? I wonder if we withdraw totally from all schools whether we will be missed electronically or otherwise?” … HERE I want to comment IN STRONG LANGUAGE, OR LET US MAKE IT CAPITAL LETTERS …. in 95% and more of the cases I must GET IN MY CAR, GO TO THE SCHOOL AND FETCH THE ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT THAT I HAVE MAILED VIA WWW INTERNET “OPTIC FIBRE” LINES AND THEN, THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MAILED BACK TO ME VIA THE SAME ROUTE OR COPPER CABLE – THE E-MAIL FACILITY IS WORKING 100% BECAUSE THE SCHOOL GOT / RECEIVED / INBOX THE MESSAGE, BUT HAVE NOT OPENED IT WITH THE ELECTRONIC PAPERKNIFE !!!

    Mark C said further: “If we were not ambassadors of electronic media, then I don’t know what else we could do to be that? ” … so TRUE, but we are almost the ONLY ones, I mean Digital Ambassadors of ELECTRONIC MEDIA !!! Why ? What is wrong with the so MANY schools and some educational officials re answering e-mails, not to mention blogs, websites, twitter, mxit, bing and so on ? It is just a click away !!!!

    When I was a child we had … Nommer asseblief …. you waited …. you waited more…. you waited even MORE and then ….another few more minutes …. nommer asseblief …. ag, tannie dit is 3 kortes, 2 langes en nog ene !!!! Daar is die oproep nou deur ……sms and e-mail goes through in 0.00000001 seconds !!

    Mark C conclude : “As for patience, mine is wearing thin by now (my 7th year)”. I have to determine mine (patience), but for NOW I will try to be an e-mailer and will try even harder to be an e-mail RECEIVER till my death !!!

    Antidote for apathy is … if no e-mail or e-blog of e-message is return, no EIAWB technology should be implemented, or to be more POSITIVE ….. what about a competition …. the schools with the most answered e-mails, e-blog, e-messageS and e-activities re Digital technology …. gets 3x EIAWB with all the peripherals.

    Albie nommer asseblief ? sms my asseblief en e-mail me PLEASE !!!

  7. I can always count on you guys to take the ball and run with it. Thanks for your valuable comments. Mark, I feel for you … sometimes my patience also wears thin … but when I see the learners in the classroom eagerly using available technology, I take courage again. Perhaps the next generation!

  8. Just for the Khanya Guiness Book of SA Records …. without any hesitation I have ANSWERED ALL my e-mails, some even twice. If I have MISSED ONE, let me know so that I can follow it up !!! Ok, let us make it 99,999999% ANSWERED.

    I challenge ALL Schools, Officials and Facilitators and e-mailers to beat this record ….. here it comes (officially I got IT ALL saved):
    2008 = 15 e-mails received and 2393 send
    2009 = (I would not like to divulge this one) and 2265 send
    2010 = (3x emails received) and 615 e-mails send up to 23 March 2010.

    Albie the e-pioneer e-mailer

  9. Just one more note on my record of e-mails, these are e-mails send and received to SCHOOLS only !!

    The e-mails that were received are those who were answered by the schools i.e. an e-mail on my original e-mail send.

    (It excludes my e-mails to Facilitators, Khanya POS, friends, family, and so on).

    The e-mails as in my previous comment is only applicable to SCHOOLS.

    Albie Schools e-mailer

  10. Dear Albie and Mark
    You are not alone in your frustration. I often wonder why we bother teaching LO at schools. The problem lies not with the technology, but rather with the person.
    We are not involved in a technological struggle, but rather a hearts and mind struggle.
    Quitters never win, persevere bothers!

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