Is ignorance bliss?

I had a workshop participant advise me recently that I should omit showing or demo-ing any tool that isn’t free. As a former teacher with a limited budget, I am well aware of the frustration of seeing things that you want so badly for your students but couldn’t possibly afford.

I struggle, however, with the idea of omitting ANYTHING that isn’t free. I certainly use “free” as much as I can, but honestly, there are some amazing tools out there that do have a price. I worry that I’d be doing teachers a disservice by not making them aware of these tools. What if next year they have some room in the budget? What if they are the recipients of a grant? Would it really be better to not even know about what’s available?

I’d love your thoughts: should I honor the limited budgets of educators by showing only what’s free? Or should I show what’s out there, even if it isn’t immediately attainable?

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5 responses to “Is ignorance bliss?

  • Erin Brinkerhoff

    I completely disagree with this person. It is important to know what is out there and what we can access to help our students achieve at the highest level possible. If you show a product with a price and someone really, really wants it, they need to learn how to write a grant to get it. Or save some money like I did to buy about $200 of Kim Sutton resources this last summer. Don’t stop mentioning not-free items because one person was sensitive and, to be honest, a little bit lazy. Sometimes great teaching tools cost money.

    I have taken a training with you and I know that you share things that you think we will appreciate and use. I like that.

    • erhubbell

      I so much appreciate your feedback, Erin, especially from someone who has experienced the training.

      I think you make a good point: there were things that were initially unattainable for me as a teacher when I first learned about them, but through persistence, pleads, wish-lists, and other means (all legal, I assure you), I was eventually able to get most of them. I think it’s the least we can do for our learners.

  • Lisa

    I tend to only show what is free. I got feedback once that I was wasting teachers time by showing things that they couldn’t afford. Yet when I show them free things, they start saying, “it is too much/I’m overwhelmed.” It is a hard spot to be in.

    • erhubbell

      Yep, I’ve had to learn after several years of facilitating PD sessions, that it’s not about the AMOUNT I can show, but rather the high-quality few things that I can show that teachers will really get into. VoiceThread, Google Earth, Diigo, some tricks in MS Office, and Google docs come to mind. (I still, however, get the feedback that they wish there was more time for learning these tools. Honestly? So do I.)

  • Dan Magyar

    I do not think you should let this one person’s opinion change your presented material, unless of course they are paying for a private workshop. Not everyone has available budget but someone may have $500 available for your perfect solution to their concern. Would you filter your presentation to just Windows, or just Social Studies or just American made?

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