Those of us that work with educational technology are constantly awash in a sea of buzzwords. These buzzwords can, at times, be useful; particularly when everyone is on the same page and have a common understanding of what a particular buzzword means. Admittedly, it’s much easier to toss off a term like ‘gamification’ or ‘learning analytics’ than it is to explain what those terms represent.
A couple of years ago I invested in a pair of hearing aids. It was not an easy decision. I thought of hearing aids as a sign of weakness and I imagined myself being horribly self-conscious. Besides, my wife had gotten used to having to repeat herself and listening to the television at an uncomfortably high volume. I had gotten used to her exasperated expression and having closed-captions displayed prominently across the screen.
Then, I realized that it wasn’t really about me. I was having trouble hearing students in the classroom. A classroom is unlike a social situation in which I might nod politely at something someone said. Even if I hadn’t really heard the potentially witty bon mot tossed my way at a social gathering, there were other cues; such as facial expression or tone of voice that would telegraph what type of appropriate non-response I would need to muster.