In many conference keynotes there are ideas that make you sit up and listen. In today’s LEON 2008 keynote it was one word from Sally Brown‘s live webcast that grabbed my attention: technopillocks. Having wiped the coffee off my screen, I thought I’d perhaps mis-heard it but having received clarification on the conference discussion board, it seems not.

Sally described herself as a technopillock, which seems to be a term (possibly hers) for someone who lacks confidence in using ICTs (for teaching & learning). She was suggesting that technopillocks should take advantage of their students competence when getting to grips with technologies for learning. Now that’s another topic, but this word technopillocks – what are your thoughts on that? The response on the conference discussion board has been varied – from identification & support to appalled.

It’s still not clear to me whether Sally was suggesting we use this term when referring to staff or whether it’s a term one would only use of oneself as Sally did (fair enough I suppose). Either way, I don’t like it, don’t think it helps and certainly won’t be offering “An Introduction to Personalisation in Moodle for Technopillocks” this summer.

Update (7th May): The LEON 2008 conference organiser has passed on a message from Sally Brown apologising to anyone who found her ‘technopillock’ term offensive.  She had intended the term to be a mildly rude, mildly silly term of self-mockery and won’t be using it again.

Conference participants have been asked to think of an alternative term to  describe an enthusiastic teacher who wants to engage with e-Learning and personalisation, but who is often baffled by innovative technologies… Any thoughts?

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