Oh, I am NOT!

Please (not yet crying for a help)…I am not a computer scientist or programmer or developer or architect or engineer!! I have my own limit (but not limited to) and I’m not a techie-protege! I am simply a facilitator. However; in order to facilitate I need to understand “the language”. This is why I am taking computer education & technology. Yet, it does not make me computer scientist or programmer or developer or architect or engineer!! (again).

“What’s your major?”
“Oh, it’s CET”
“What is CET?”
“Oh, it’s Computer Education and Technology”
“Oh, you’re the IT girl! Awesome”
“Oh no, not exactly”
“No? Why? Computer Education, right? Science, right? Everything connects to computer is your thing, right? Plus…Technology…what doesn’t make you IT girl, anyway?”
“Well…not science…it’s education…it’s more about how the field of education utilizes, makes use, and incorporates computer and other related regimen of technology”
“Nah, same thing! Hey, I got a problem…this thing won’t work…I think it’s either the hardware or the software stuff….oh and plus this action script and coding seems don’t work either….probably there’s something wrong in the syntax or so….”

And there it goes again….I have to (again) politely explain that although I know how to trouble shoot….it doesn’t mean that I can trouble shoot anything starting from the very piece of the software, hardware until the very bit of the programming language. And yes…I am not a magical support center! If I happen to assist in trouble shooting, that usually doesn’t involve the most-complicated peripheral of algorithms or their co-friends.

Ever since I am working on ICT Center for Education and continuing my study in CET major, The IT girl-thing-y most often to appear in every academic and professional conversation I encounter (even informal and non-Ed!). I am not saying that it’s wrong. It’s just IT seems to be more of the specific-technical insider of what so called as computer scientist, programmer, developer, architect or even engineer. And, I don’t feel like being their insider.

Ok, it’s like this…When you got your Doctorate Degree, people will see you as “The knower of the knowing or the knowing of the knower” Regardless in what field the specificity takes place. To this end, when you don’t seem to know and you can’t give people satisfying answer, they will easily assume that you’re incompetent and waste your time studying without actually realizing that generalization is overrated and that specificity falls under a little notice!

The same fashion goes along the way with this IT and Computer thing in which I don’t take any blame at all of having me to be entitled that. It’s just…I don’t know. I just feel that I have the need to deliberate myself – owing myself an explanation so that I can reboot this thing.

Yes, I’m working at ICT Center for Education. Yet, I have been plowed & more exposed to build my capacity building in instructional design and technology/Educational technology – Training design, Media Design and Implementation (Instructional Design and Technology/ Educational Technology) to provide alternatives and breakthrough for learning that can touch a more diversified layer of learners and meet a more diversified characteristics of learners – situational design activity. It’s the design intervention to learning.

In fact, it is learning that becomes the subject. Nonetheless, in order to create and implement the best design for the best outcome, undoubtedly, there’s a need for a collaboration with other spectrum such as subject matter expert (teachers, instructors, educators, trainers, educational psychologist, clinical psychologist for learning disabilities, etc), media (and multimedia) expert (writers, graphic designers, programmer, developer, etc), and technical insider expert (software and hardware engineer, architect, scientist, etc). To my understanding so far, the field of instructional design and technology (as it’s not directly related to English Literature as my undergrad major) has brought me this far in which I have been trying to embrace with the best version of me. Still, misunderstanding, under appreciation, and underestimation comes along the way of this journey (which I’m so thankful for). It has made me see a lot!

Now, I have a chance to learn to take a closer look at this field…more thoroughly while I’m little “worried” (not pessimistic!) that actually this field is rather “cloudy” – so broadly defined in roles and responsibilities. It made me read rather differently (which I never did before) about what Michael Spector said in his journal article on his reflection for ID field:

“We have multiple identities. We have been affiliated with a number of disciplines including educational psychology, information studies, and library and IT science. We claim to be a discipline that applies theory to practice – learning theory to instructional design practice. The much promised benefit of doing so would be improved learning and more efficient instruction. Well, something always seems to get in the way. Technologies become obsolete, teachers become frustrated, and researchers are lured into industry. Our graduates become Instructional designers, technology coordinators, training managers, educational Researchers, university professors, military training specialists, advisers, consultants, and
So on. We should avoid the “ticky-tacky” nature of rigidly imposed standard solutions and
Approaches. This is admittedly difficult” (2005).

I once used to swimming-pool type of involvement and development: practice first, theory later. Probably I found myself (back then) drowned most of the time and floating around until I can finally learn naturally (by force or sense of emergency – and oh, it so hard to find time to study when you caught up so much at work! but it doesn’t mean impossible and I admire one who can juggle both! I do!). During my study here, I happen to actually learn through “the right track” or “the right trail” of what it means to work on ET or IDT field. I am fully aware that my keeping-up track has run its own speed compared to my friends, colleagues, or coworkers who have earned their time and effort to study this field fully and solidly (so that they have earlier grasp of what is happening) before they get into this field. Now I understand that the greatest objective of ID is to serve the learning needs and success of learners through effective presentation of content and fostering of interaction. With the advancement of technology and the emerging paradigm of e-learning, this field has to “marry” technology and education, and most often, “bridging” concepts between the two worlds. Not an easy task but clearly feasible.

Okay, enough about theoretical chit chat which I believe I will be getting a “you-need-to-learn-more-than-just-that-dude, there’s more! Thing-y (which stands for duh?!) Who doesn’t know that?!). Anyways, I can always keep up with the theories through books, lectures, or conferences. It is the rather-different-perception and treatment towards this profession/field in the outside of the box arena (which I gave the example earlier as to open up this posting). Not stressing! In fact, it’s rather sky-rocketing for a little while until you realize the heavier consequences coming with that packaging. It is the need to make it clear that matters or is it me who over analyzing this (which I am prepared to be criticized as hell).

I’m more comfortable with the term facilitator because that is actually what I am doing and will be doing (and was doing). Yet, to perform as an adequate facilitator, I am aware that I must be able to speak “the language”. The language that has been yielded ever since the cloudy-debate scheme from this field and the marriage between education and technology emerge (not to mention today’s net Gen). Okay, as I mentioned before that the collaboration with other spectrum (subject matter, media, and technical insider expert) has brought me another challenge: speaking and understanding every language from my collaborator so that I will keep on my track to avoid misunderstanding along the process in designing something (as end product that will connect me with customer/learners). It’s important not to have misunderstanding because the process will take longer and alas…it points out to the ineffectiveness (which ID hates).

So, as an attempt to accomplish this mission (speaking and understanding the language), I need to learn about technology-related regime in which it is easily identified as “technical”. I need to learn as many software as possible (especially educational software) to see more possibilities of embedding them into learning design. I have learned how to program & to create something using that software (and/or multimedia software (website, weblogs, CMS, LMS, Flash application, podcast, video cast, even social networking, etc). At least I’m not just answering “Oh, that is the processor that processes word” or sleeplessly wondering on how variables and methods interact in “KeyListener.onKeyDown=function():Void{if(Key.isDown(Key.LEFT)){if(box_mc._x>50)}.

I have learned how to work on better graphics through hands-on practices of creating/producing my own graphic design with Photoshop or any other visual-literacy software (not just knowing that pictures worth thousand words but more to what they do convey and what power they do have for learning).

In short, I have learned to not just get in touch with technology application, programming concept, Internet and Computer based application, instructional multimedia but also more to explore and develop the sense of my creativity (which I’m afraid that it will wither along the way my age is adding up, will it be?). Likewise, I also have learned about the basic of ID: Instructional design, assessment and evaluation, and also leadership and professional development in technology to get the full grasp of this field.

Sometimes I feel it’s overwhelming of not having any experience earlier (such as having it as my undergrad major or so) at all (I repeat, at all…means starting from scratch) but I’m still here. If it wasn’t because of the essence of the facilitating dynamic that I’m in favor of, I would have not survived. Well, what doesn’t kill me will definitely make me stronger.

So yes, I get in touch with technology but it doesn’t make me a technologist.
So yes, I get in touch with language programming but it doesn’t make me a programmer
So yes, I get in touch with computer hardware, software and their trouble shooting but it doesn’t make me a technician or computer scientist
So yes, I get in touch with websites, World Wide Web, and other web and internet based application but it doesn’t make me a web and internet protégé
So yes, I get in touch with ID theories, philosophy, frame-worked concepts and ideas but it doesn’t make me an instructional designer or consultant either

If I happen to not be a technology protégé, the least that I can do is to refer to the one who is. This is about the problem solving, for God sake! Not about self-statement. I am willing to take the invisibility if I could assist in solving problems since it’s not about me; it’s about learners/end users.

If I happen to not having the same pathway of opening up my documents, changing to the uppercase letter, copying or pasting something based on the “most effective way to do so”, I just want to highlight that it’s just a matter of taste & preference, not because I am dumb enough not to do the same exact way of executing technology as others do.

Everybody can choose to be almost anything from this field. In fact this field opens up so many doors for the expansions of profession (which I admire). Yet,I am simply a facilitator – I choose to be one. It feels comfortable on me and that’s what matters most!

Call me incompetent of refusing such aforementioned entitlements but I stick with what I have chosen. Yes, I am facilitator where I am trying my best to facilitate anyone who have the needs to learn along with the process of learning – I repeat, as best as I could do, by utilizing what I have learned, what I have known, and what I have mastered – my way, that’s what I do for a living, and I love what I’m doing.

So please… I am not a computer scientist or programmer or developer or architect or engineer!! I am simply a facilitator. I am simply here to facilitate. If I happen to assist then I’m so grateful but if I happen not to be able to assist, then I will simply facilitate you to the one who can – as simple as that: managing and designing facilitation for the best outcome. And if you still think I’m incompetent, I won’t blame you but please…refer to the first sentence I put right there.

Wini – Athens, Spring 2009

PS. This is the very first reason why I got the previous email saying that “nobody can actually make everyone happy”.


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