I was invited, a few days ago, to be on a conference call with a group of tech types. Perhaps the the first challenge was making sure that I had the tech to make that thing happen. This was especially true because I was going to be interviewed as an expert on educational tech. I should be able to hook up a web cam.
I have been doing this thing, teaching tech, for twenty-one years. I had not ever considered that I would be an expert. Except maybe Malcolm Gladwell. He wrote that about the time it takes to become an expert on something: Ten thousand hours. That works out to a little more than four hundred days. If you did something twenty-four hours a day. I didn't do that. If you could manage to do something for three hours a day, then you would reach that magical total after nine years. Of course, I wasn't teaching three hundred sixty-five days a year. A school year is one hundred eighty days. And if you are keeping score at home I can say that I was asked to teach computers, not math. I am pretty sure that somewhere in there I chalked up ten thousand hours somewhere in there. Thus, by the measuring stick proposed by Mister Gladwell I have ascended to that pinnacle of expertness.
So I prepared to show up on this conference call as an expert at teaching tech. Because I had earned it. I was going to answer these questions, posed by a group of people who had certifiable degrees in things technological, and I was going use my best answer-with-conviction voice.
Because, as it turned out, it really wasn't about my ability to hook up a web cam. Which I was able to do. Never mind that for a good portion of the interview I was only visible from my chin down, that voice of calm authority came shining through. I spoke of how I do things, how I have done things, and how I would like to do things. I talked about being a computer teacher in an urban Oakland elementary school.
I am an expert computer teacher at an urban Oakland elementary school. Who can connect a webcam. There are probably a few other things for which I can claim to be an expert. Many of them are not what might be considered marketable. Or interesting. But if you have any questions about scribbling cartoons on posti-its, I'm your man.