The Parable of Rose and Daisy

(Originally published on my Budget Astronomer website)

A cautionary tale…

Once upon a time there were two neighbours, named Rose and Daisy. Both neighbours had beautiful gardens, that they tended regularly. On any clear day in the warmer months they could be seen doting around their gardens with a watering can, checking that the plants were not wilting, and the soil was good, the weeds were not encroaching, and the lawn edges remained crisp.

One day, Daisy came home with a set of boxes, and began to busily install equipment throughout the yard.

She explained to Rose: “I am tired of all that lugging the watering can around. This new irrigation system will water the garden for me at regular intervals. With less time spent watering, I can spend more time working with the plants.”  Agreeing that this sounded like an excellent plan, Rose went out and purchased one herself.

A few weeks later, Daisy’s garden was healthier and more vibrant than ever – a genuine showpiece garden. Rose’s garden, however, did not improve in appearance. The plants were certainly healthy, but a few weeds were poking through, and some of the plants heeded dead-heading, and some of the edges were creeping in.

So why is there a difference between the two?

Both neighbours loved their gardens, but Daisy loved to garden. She loved poking in the dirt and caring for the plants and pulling the weeds and trimming the edging and all the other little gardening chores needed to keep a garden in top form. Rose loved her garden, but only did the chores when necessary. When watering by hand, Rose would see all the little things that needed to be done, because she was stopping and watering each plant. With the central system, she sat back and watched her garden grow, without getting in and giving it the individual attention each plant deserved.

You can probably see where this is heading…

With the introduction of any new technology in education, particularly one that promises improvement “automatically”, there is a risk of the teacher withdrawing behind the technology, and not giving each student the individual attention they deserve.

But this is not a criticism of teachers, nor technology. It is a cautionary tale, it comes with no moral judgement. If you are reading this, you need to take a long, hard look at your own practices, and ask yourself if you are a Rose or a Daisy – and if you realize that you are a Rose (and if you consider human nature, that would likely be the majority!), you must decide for yourself how you will ensure that each student is looked after individually.

Good luck, and watch your gardens grow!

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