This Is CRAP!!!

This Is CRAP!!!

Yesterday for my post series on use the of Web 2.0 with students I highlighted our preconceived notions on our digital natives ability to use technology. Today I want to talk about how truly totally frustrating students can be when you do use technology, and why they react this way!

As an educator we all have sessions that we spend hours preparing for only to have it all not quite go as planned, and students saying loudly THIS IS CRAP!! in simple terms all our hard work turns to SHIT. We grin, clean ourselves up, bathes our wounds and say thank goodness that is over next time I will do it differently! And when it is just one class we cope.

Unfortunately when it comes to using technology for elearning, we will often plan to use it for several classes, possibility the whole course, so it is much harder to cope with when students say THIS IS CRAP! And trust me, it does not matter what you are doing is, some will say it, and does get on your nerves.

So here are some tips from my e-learning leadership project, which help me cope when facilitating professional development, that also help me understand why some students automatic response will always be THIS IS CRAP!

Impact of Change

Whenever we ask someone to do something differently we are asking them to change, to let go of the familiar, to trust you in where you are taking them and what you are doing. The students are used to doing it one way, now you are saying lets try it another way!

GUESS WHAT–not everyone want to change! Familiar is known, comfortable and secure. Change is uncharted water; many people’s natural and rational response is resistance. Emotionally change can simultaneously bring joy and sorrow, gain and loss, satisfaction and disappointment.

Understand that when a student says THIS IS CRAP it may be their automatic response mechanism to the change, and trust me, it always seems to be the same student(s) regardless of what you are asking them to do (they do it to any change e.g. when shown another way to feed fish).

If a person is resisting change do make time to discuss their feelings as they may have very valid reasons and make the effort to learn more about the impact of change on people because it will help manage resistance to change better!

Adoption of Innovation

rodgers.JPG Roger’s Innovation Adoption Curve is a model often used to explain the uptake of technology within an organisation. So people involved in facilitating professional development use it as away of identify people who are more likely to engage in the use of technology.

However I think this model is also valuable when using technology with students because this model is meant to apply to any population. In simple terms Rogers model classifies adopters of innovations into various categories, based on the idea that certain individuals are inevitably more open to adaptation than others.

A person’s innovation adoption characteristic affects the rate of uptake of an innovation over time.

Roger’s categories are:

  • Innovators (2.5 %)
  • Early Adopters (13.5 %)
  • Early Majority (34 %)
  • Late Majority (34 %)
  • Laggards (16 %)

Every population is made up of these groups so if you have a class of 20 students:

  • 3.5 students will be innovators and early adopters; they are easier to convinc e to innova te. They are typically techies and they eat, sleep, and drink tech.
  • 13 students will be mainstream adopters (early and late majority who make up 64 % of any population); are less into technology, will buy into the innovation for different reasons and need a different level of support from early adopters
  • 3.5 students will be late majority and laggards; you will struggle with students because they are skeptics or set in their way and will only embrace when the others have

Remember that different adopter groups buy into innovation for different reasons and have different expectations. What works with an early adopter does not work for the mainstream and the other way around.

So remember the innovators and early adopters will embrace the easiest but to make it work you need to get the mainstream adopters to buy in because they represent the majority.

[images from PhotoLiv, Massdistraction, Will Scotton, Striatic and Rob Gruhl]


Yes, there are a lot of other reasons why students say THIS IS CRAP these are just some of them!

6 thoughts on “This Is CRAP!!!

  1. Readiness has a lot to do with it as well Sue. I would classify myself as an early adopter these days. Perhaps I was once an innovator, but different interests and responsibilities have changed that and I am comfortable with watching the ‘new wave’ of innovators tread unknown paths.

    BUT there is so much happening that you need to be ready to take more in, even as an early adopter. That hit home with me this week. I have gradually taken notice of blogs, wikis, flickr, iGoogle (love it), slideshare, YouTube etc, but Second Life just wasn’t really interesting me. Last week I invited Jo Kay to give an intro to my NSW and QLD Managers in e-Learning LearnScope teams.(Check out And all of a sudden I woke up! Yes, I was ready to soak up something new. I had seen it before but I wasn’t interested enough to pursue it, but now I was READY. Perhaps it was my mindset on the day, but more likely I was feeling comfortable with all the other ‘stuff’ and ready to move on to my next challenge.

  2. Hi Sue
    I’m enjoying your posts on this topic.

    As we are all aware, it’s usually not the silent majority but the late-adopters and laggards are the most vocal! At least this has been my experience. It’s almost as though it’s part of the defence mechanism!

    I agree also that being ready to embrace the new technology is vital. As Hamlet says, “The readiness is all.” Our job as educators is to facilitate the environment in which as many as possible, even the most resistant, can see the point of being ready.

  3. Hi Val

    You have given me a lot to consider with readiness and how we can work out whether an individual is ready to engage with technology. I have disappointed quite a few people because I have been avoiding Second Life — for me it is time.


  4. Hi Kate

    Thanks for your feedback on how much you are enjoying these posts. The very vocal can be really upsetting because you have spent hours getting organised only to feel that they don’t appreciate or value the effort.


  5. Good post Sue. One problem with the Rogers’s work that I rarely see mentioned is the homogeneity of the population he was studying. He basically studied rural farmers in Iowa in the late 50s. Not a very diverse group. That this research is still cited as gospel today is quite amazing. We have many ways to slice and dice independent variables (multivariate) that a blanket iv called “people” is rarely useful.

    For example, if we just had “people” then we wouldn’t see differences in adoption/diffusion based on age. Now had culture, rural/urban, education, gender… You get the idea.

    I so agree with the comment about people defending the status quo: I wrote about this once:


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