What is powerful about teaching with technology?

Gary Putland, General Manager Education.au

Understaning the paradigm shifts: what is powerful about learning with technology?What are the challenges and opportunities? What tools can assist us and what are the characteristics of success.

Lawrence Lessig – Creative Commons – and a visit to the Ted Talk – helps us to focus on the significant paradigm shifts – and the spirit of mashup and the tools of creativity.

  1. Understanidng the paradigm shifts begins with a few key points that are challenging our daily practice:
  • Mobile, portable, connected
  • 24/7, access incresing
  • Transformative nature (e.g. banking, travel planning)
  • Social networking phenomena – connect, capture, store, share.

Students are producers and creators of knowledge – kids are information rich outside of school and knowledge poor in school. The locus of control is shifting to anywhere outside the formal education environment. Part of education is to ensure that we are information rich AND knowledge rich.

“Control” is moving out to the masses. Kids want access, and ed departments want control. Let’s work with this and create something positive from this healthy tension. Give students the opportunity to learn how to learn. Risk needs to be shared. Kids can bring a whole lot more to the learning process, and the options for personalization are becoming the priority focus. Rubrics for collaborative learning need to be developed and extended. Immediacy and currency are critical ways for students to keep up-to-date. The “C” in ICT is the vital component – its about connectedness and communication.

The Literacy continuum is so critical – their search, selection and synthesis skills need developing. [Its about knowledge and working with knowledge.] Multiple literacies are also critical and must encompass a range of media as well as promote new literacies for thinking and knowledge creation.

The Numeracy continuum is also critical. Are their things we should stop doing, and add new things to the learning process? Gary demonstrated “Gap Minder” which collects information and you can see the interactions between the data (trends analysis, forcasting). Other programs to use include Scratch (from MIT), Google Earth Community, Alice (3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video etc.

Just how do we help students to understand themselves? That’s what should be the driving force in developing digital pedagogies. Opportunities to explore also include ‘truth, trust and authority’. What is truth? becomes Who do you trust? We have a critical responsibility to help kids understand the implications of a ‘digital footprint’. Finally, we need to help students understand intellectual property in the era of Mashup and democratization of information. Creative Commons concepts need to be explored and extrapolated into the world of our students as produces and consumers of information.

Web 2.0 tools enable storing and sharing of content. Edna is going to launch Edna TV as an alternative collaboration and sharing space

Emerging technologies are important to follow and integrate into our thinking. The blend between blogger, researchers, IT industry players, education organisations and more are working to create new thinking. The critical thing is to connect with other experts.

Digital Education – Making Change HappenThe MCEETYA ICT in Schools Taskforce (ICTST) was responsible for providing strategic advice to all Australian Education Ministers on issues related to the use of technologies in schools, including innovation and emerging technologies.

Characteristics of succes? Leadership; An educational plan; Champions and Mentors; Teaching techniques and strategies; Good infrastructure; Recognition and reward

2 thoughts on “What is powerful about teaching with technology?

  1. “tension” is definitely evident. Re-constructing from the bottom (the connected classroom teacher) upwards places tremendous on the teacher who can often feel isolated in their workplace, yet so connected though the ‘interwebs’. The line of management structure I think is all too often immersed in ‘big picture’ ideals, when time, money and faith should be used to support the teacher and students they are connected with – at the individual teacher level – which is not how schools do things.

    It is okay to have a ‘vision’, but unfortunately those whom seem to eek out a niche in strategic planning, rhetoric and symbolic gesturing are observers, skimming the surface with a point of reference that is the past.

    Trusting a teacher – who is learning through their network daily – does as you say conflict with notions of control. The system controls the administrators who in turn control the school and the line flows right down to, and places most pressure on, the teacher.

    Our systems have a vested interest in maintaining the ‘chain of command’ and emits social, financial and professional pressures on teachers and students. Its great to see so many teachers shifting towards an engaged classroom, but the tension that it causes leads to questions of sustainability, if there is no ‘vent’ to allow those in the classrooms (the experts) leading learning. You can’t plan or dictate this in the model that is currently in place. Administrators need to work out how to get down to the teacher and student level. Perhaps, dare I say, get into the classroom and try it – not talk about it. You never know, you might actually find some administrators gaining and ‘authentic’ view of what they think they are talking about.

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