Saturday, June 24, 2006


Is it real or is it artificial? Do the ends justify the means?

I played a joke on my sister. We both bought hydrangeas (flowers) that can either grow to be blue or pink depending on acidity in the soil. Many people long for the beautiful, blue hydrangeas you see on the east coast and in the south, but Wisconsin does not have the soil to produce them. Nurseries give instructions on how to add ingredients to the soil to change it, but there is the risk of hurting the plant and, even if it works, it is minimal and short-lived because earthworms will churn it back to the natural ph level.

I decided to take my trompe'loie skills along with my artist mentality and grabbed a spray bottle and blue watercolor. When my sister came over I took her out to see my beautiful blue hydrangea. She was oooohing and aaahhing until I came clean with the joke I was playing on her. When she found out how they came to be blue, she turned away from the beautiful flower and declared, “That’s just not right!”

We carry mindsets of what is acceptable and not acceptable – In my mind, with the art mindset of “trick of the eye”, I am quite willing to accept the painted hydrangea and even believe it is a better route than using chemicals to change the dirt. She, on the other hand, believes that alteration one step removed from the actual plant is alright but altering the actual plant is unacceptable.

What does this have to do with technology in education?

The system of education in the U.S. is a behemoth of brick and mortar in need of a major demolition crew to make way for the new. Accepting what technology has to offer the new design will involve a great deal of review and revision of established mindsets.

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