- Progression with technology. How has it changed the way you learn and shaped your professional practice?
I’m still learning and I’m a long way from feeling competent, fluent – and I’m still a long way from putting my ideas into place. Those baby steps are still happening.
Previously the main contact I had with students was at school. Now through Edmodo I can share links, ideas, reminders, assignments, resources and engage in conversations at any time. I have one student who doesn’t upload work for submission, but hits the ‘turn in button’ when he finishes it – so it’s been great for his organisation too. But then again I’m not sure whether I like being on call 24/7.
One of the biggest impacts on my professional practice has been on my organisation – although I am still coming to terms with that too. Using the Cloud and synchronizing my tablet, my smartphone and my laptop are like Wow. Notes, reminders, calendars, emails, contacts. (I love having a brilliant idea and not writing it on a table napkin! (Actually I just love having brilliant ideas))
I spend way too much time finding interesting resources and ideas – even filtering through online communities etc. there is an absolute truckload of good stuff (as well as not so good stuff) – I really have to work on limiting the places I look. I wish I could share – but so many people are streets ahead of me I am humbled.
I really like that technology allows us to share on a professional level – common resources, links, files. Using the Cloud for file sharing has enabled more active collaboration and planning to take place and certainly a streamlining of the proof reading and drafting process. In terms of learning – look at the Webinars – how awesome is that – we can attend a 1 hour PD without having to drive 6 hours there and back to get there. There are so many resources available – YouTube
clips abound to help us with so much. And of course this course. I think one of my concerns is that because most of these things are easily accessible, and in some ways lack the accountability of face to face interactions, they get put on the backburner. Of course there is also the flip side – we can spend a lot of time interacting through a screen – to the detriment of other aspects of our lives.
- Your feelings about the impact of technology on us as citizens
This is a huge question.
Technology and social media gives us the world at our fingertips, we truly can become global citizens – global issues become more real – the Oklahoma tornado, New Zealand Landslides.
There are so many good things that social media can be used for – we can tweet about anything – traffic jams, train delays – Facebook is an awesome way to organise large groups of people (love those Flash mobs, school reunions etc.) and I love to Skype with people in different states, countries etc. – but it’s a concern when using technology for communication seriously detracts from face to face communication (image Christmas Dinners with all the family under 30 were using their smart phones).
When there is a ‘buffer’ in the communication, so that it is no longer direct, an important part of the communication can be lost – the nonverbal aspects, reading body language etc. as you unconsciously assess the impact of your comments etc.
But the definition of a good citizen remains the same – technology just adds another dimension that we need to be aware of and embrace
- Your thoughts about the use of technology in learning and the role educators play in modeling the use of technology
Perhaps my view is simplistic, but I think our role as educators is to ‘teach’ / ‘assist’ / ‘facilitate’ students to be responsible and informed citizens. This embraces all dimensions – social, emotional, physical, environmental and the list goes on. Education of our youth is a shared responsibility – family, school, society etc. Not sure I like the phrase “or is it better to model behaviour in a platform like Edmodo and hope that it rubs off?” Modeling is a very powerful influence – although much depends on who is doing the modeling. Educators, parents and the community (perhaps including the global community, media etc.) should be modeling behaviours and values that are acceptable in our society – this applies equally to the use of technology. We can teach digital literacy through the platforms that we use and at the same time draw parallels (better to get the students to draw parallels) with the other platforms students use. I cannot begin to imagine that I will have the time, the resources and more importantly the expertise to “teach” the range of social tools.
- How technology can be used to support your chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner
There are many characteristics and combinations of characteristics of effect learning. Technology can support the following
1. Curiosity / open mindedness / lifelong learning – Cameron commented on this, but it’s so relevant I need to comment on it again. For both school based learning and just learning new stuff in general, technology can provide a wealth of resources. One of my most exciting experiences recently was students working with Google Earth – moving from finding their own home then following that with “I wonder if it’s true you can see ….. from space” then doing lots of zooming around, then looking up other resources to find out more. Admittedly they went way off the prescribed task but the wow factor was worth it.
2. Organising their learning – there are many applications available for students to use that will help them with this aspect of their learning – calendars, task lists, project tracking , sticky notes, reminders – particularly when synchronising these across different devices,
3. Collecting and organising relevant information. With so much information available, this is an area that is of vital importance. Some of the tools and discussions in this course are relevant here – effectively using search engines, evaluating the resources available, as well as then keeping track of these. Using tool such as Evernote, OneNote and bookmarking such as Diigo etc. are important. As too is using effective file management strategies.
4. share ideas, work collaboratively. This is another area where technology excels. There are so many formats and forums for publishing and sharing with others – students from their own class, other classes, other schools, other countries, as well as other people. Online collaborative projects, developing webpages….
5. appreciate when they need to seek help or ask questions – This is probably closely linked with the previous characteristic, where students can work collaboratively to achieve their goals. It requires students to students proactively considering the knowledge and skills they need and tap into the knowledge and expertise of others. With effective use of technology, the teacher isn’t the only expert in the classroom. With YouTube tutorials, skypeing, podcasting, emailing, twittering, learning communities, online tutoring etc. etc. there is plenty of help for students. In fact, knowing a little of what’s ahead with Unit 7 I have just searched “how to make a screencast”. I realise our PLN page will support me in this, but if I didn’t have that, then there is help out there. Learning to ask the right questions and evaluating the resources suggested is part of being an effective learner
- We’d also love to read your predictions about how technology will change the way we learn in the future.
Ah the possibilities – It is only a matter of time that the technology at our fingertips will replace teachers’ as the ‘experts’ – perhaps the ‘content’ / subject matter may be delivered through effective use of technology. To that end, I have spent some enjoyable time browsing the future of learning / teaching as others see it. Here is a collection of interesting YouTube clips
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0efppCGqyHo the holographic future
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z23UeJi_uJ4 beam remote presence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yWzKvQXsYM future technologies
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgV9IILqLD0 twenty first century – virtual classrooms
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ9pjyBrCS0 Technology in the 21st Century Classroom: New Literacy – a bit old, but still relevant
After a recent trip to US, I felt like a voyeur as I gained a glimpse of the Amish culture and its rejection of many 21st century trappings. But when I contemplate some of the possible impacts of technology on teaching, I am concerned about the potential loss of human contact – perhaps some of us are already on our way to becoming a “matrix” society as we spend more and more time interacting through technology rather than face to face .
I feel that many teachers cling to the ‘old ways’ and are slow at embracing technology in the classroom, not so much because they are scared of it, or are dinosaurs, but simply because they do not have the time. I know I have spent less time working through the units of this course over the last few weeks – not because I am slack or disinterested, but because there have been so many demands on my time at work and I also would like to have a life that does not involve interacting with a keyboard and a screen .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvyP-cwpHN8 –how will you teach me in the 21st century?
“We will do it together”
So the notion of “we will do it together “ appeals to me – the students get their head around the technology, somehow the school has the funding and the resources to support this and then the teachers become the facilitators , the wiser heads , even though the intricacies may be beyond us –