Wrangling with online tools has become part of the daily work expectation for many – but not for many of our teachers in schools and universities it seems.
The more I work with educators, the more I worry about the learning opportunities we are creating for our students. Of course, I am generalising here, but nevertheless, I remain perplexed by the idea that teachers feel they are too “time poor” to learn something new each day. Every day, teachers expect their students to ‘go forth’ and find new information, learn new ways of approaching a topic, write another essay, fill another wiki, write another blog post, make another movie, sit another exam…..you know, it’s endless. So students should stick at it…but not teachers?
Last Saturday I attended a wonderful full day of workshops at Tara School, run by some trusty colleagues for the ICTENSW teachers. Attendees came from city and country locations – some even found their way there from Singapore. My workshop is one that I plan to run in a few different locations in Australia and NZ during the year. I wasn’t sure if it was really worthwhile – but Saturday reminded me of the great digital divide that is emerging in teaching ranks. Here were keen teachers, willing to learn – what about the rest?
It’s not an issue of resourcing – it’s an issue of understanding and capability. We need to make sure we remain sufficiently skilled to actually be quality mentors for our students!
Two areas stick out like a sore thumb – digital footprint and information seeking.
It’s the same problem we have always had – the expectation that only teacher librarians need to really know how to find stuff! I’m afraid that in our digital era, the stuff finding has to become a core digital skill for all teachers. This is all the more paramount, when you juxtapose information seeking skills and knowledge creation strategies with digital footprint/digital citizenship and the power of positive digital interactions for professional learning.
The two are not mutually exclusive!
Learning to wrangle the web correctly and well for information, communication, collaboration, social networking, gaming etc is an essential core skill for 21st century students.
I created a Livebinder to drill into some of these questions. We didn’t get to do very much at all, even with two hours, but at least the resource is there to learn more!
The rationale behind Knoweldge 2.0 is acknowledging the information maze; recognising that googling is the default skill that poor teaching promotes; finding out what else is around and why you would craft different approaches to information seeking; discovering the difference between seeking, and having information & news delivered with the power of RSS; considering the power of academic databases and RSS; pegging cognitive skills into the mix, and dipping into the Howard Rheingold bunch of goodies; and then setting up your own personalised strategies.
All that can take a day to work through, not just a workshop. But it IS the sequence of thinking that every teacher needs to go through at some point if they are going to consider themselves as proper participants in Knowledge 2.0 or 21st century learning, or whatever else you want to label the learning of today’s kids!
Let me know if you’d like to have a workshop like this at your school or institution.