Cara Hagen and I were huddled in her office yesterday brainstorming ideas for an "Intro to Web 2.0" presentation she’ll be giving soon to a group of graduate students who are also practicing teachers. Her solemn mission is to inform, delight, and edify—and hopefully not frighten them into utter paralysis with the momentousness of the changes afoot. We agreed it would be a rattling-good start to show the "Did You Know?" video originated by Karl Fisch and remixed by Scott McLeod, followed by Michael Wesch’s "The Machine Is Us/ing Us." An eye-opening introduction, right?

Think again. Or at least, caveat presenter and proceed with caution and common sense. Wesley Fryer, having recently traveled down this same road with Oklahoma teachers, offers good insights about the avoiding "shock and awe" effect:

I’m thinking rather than show a video like “Did You Know,” maybe I need to focus on small steps that entry-level technology users can take. I’m reminded of the ACOT research and stages of technology integration. In the case of my most recent presentations, in which I felt like E.T., I wasn’t talking to teachers who were or are ready for “invention level” integration ideas.

I don’t have the answers. It was very weird to feel like E.T. this week in several contexts. “Shock and awe” may not be the best formula for conversations and learning. Maybe I need to craft and share a more basic, simple message, and avoid overwhelming people with too many scary statistics and ideas.

No one has the answers, I guess. The old maxim applies: Work with people where they are.