Keynote Speaker, Stephanie Hamilton (who joined Apple in 2000 and leaving Austin Independent School District, designing and building 21st century learning environments for 110 schools) and presented the opening session of Apple’s 17th Innovative Technology Schools Conference.
Stephanie provided the ususal inspirational talk that sprang from that important message that we are all trying to communicate to our teachers and school leaders:
- The only constant in life is….. CHANGE
- Lifelong learning implies…..CHANGE
- The road to the 21st century school is paved with ….CHANGE
She addressed all aspects of this change: changing technology; changing learners; and a changing world.
She asked “when you produce a really long document in wordprocessing, do you print it out for proofreading?” A groan of recognition hit us all – yes, we are indeed digital immigrants.
So we are working within a timeshifted world – even out technology tools have radically changed. Kids today have bypassed email, at a time when teachers are just catching up. “Email is so yesterday”! ! Yet how often do we allow students in schools to use IM. Schools still ban mobiles, and “that’s like holding back a tsunami by holding up your hand”!!
How do we take these technologies and make use of them? It is about the difference in the way we learn versus the way technologies are facilitating THEIR learning.
What is their (learning) nature?
Creative, Mobile, Multitasking, Collaborative, Productive
They are prolific writers, but we just don’t know about it, because we don’t move in the spaces they move. They demonstrate these learning characteristics, but we don’t always see it (think MySpace etc) Yet these elements are what a good employer will be looking for, and are checking profiles online as part of the employment process!
They naturally enjoy multi-tasking – today we are more likely to call this ADD. Is this the new normal?
The issue is we need to look at when it works for them, and when it works against them.
Think of there learning as ‘multi-threaded’. We approach them on one dimension, yet they have receptors to take in information on 4 dimensions! We are missing opportunities to communicate with them. Look at the way they can learn – not how we can teach.
Stephanie quoted a figure from the American Library Association: By 2020 information will double every 15 minutes. How long are our teaching periods? What facts will we teach if the information doubles three times in that teaching period!
What a fantastically challenging concept!
For those currently engaged in this discussion via edublogs Stephanie did not actually present anything new, but she did provide an invigorating reminder that there are many aspects of the digital change that we must keep in mind, and provided a few nice points that we can use effectively when encouraging new digital immigrants!
A Final Point……………
Digital Native Learning Infrastructure…..incorporates….
- Knowledge Creation and dissemination
- Creative exploration
- Highly collaborative, Interactive and Ad-Hoc
- Software solutions are expressive
- User/Student Centric
- Total Opportunity of Ownership
I specially like this phrase: “Look at the way they can learn – not how we can teach.” This is the key to unlock most of today´s challenges in the teaching and learning processes (our teaching formula is not enough). We must embrace technology with all its many avenues in order to become more effective teachers and understand the way our children learn with today´s technology.
Interesting insight, helpful with teachers that insist on focusing on content rather than developing their own skills of teaching kills.