The perpetual topic, or, #edchat for the ages

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I […] believe that the technology so commonplace to our homes belongs in our classrooms as well.”¹

“Even at this late stage of their development, classroom computers are still often seen only as boxes to run fixed applications, rather than as vehicles with which we  can extend and expand our thinking.”²

“The great majority of today’s educators have little interest in classroom computing. An unfortunate consequence of this disinterest is that these teachers, many of whom are tremendously effective, are assuming that the quality of their instruction can’t benefit from exposure to new technology. We need to examine the role of technology as a tool that can help us teach the whole child.”³

“As I look at the challenges facing education today, it seems to me that we need more hackers – not just computer hackers, of course, but hackers in all areas of knowledge.”4

In going through all the unprocessed materials in the Curriculum Library, I’ve found a few interesting items. One provide the above quotes. Outside of a few dated expressions – “classroom computing” rather than “mobile technologies” or “social networking,” for example – I think it would be easy to find someone writing, blogging or tweeting these exact sentiments today. In fact, someone may have expressed these exact sentiments today on #edchat, where the discussion is on how to incorporate social media into the classrooms, and get more teachers and administrators to buy in to its use.

This is not surprising – until you realize that the book (Education, Technology, and Paradigms of Change for the 21st Century, by David Thornburg) was published in 1989. Over 20 years later, and we are still having the same arguments. The more I read, the more I weed (the collection, that is!), the more I realize that this is true pretty much everywhere:

This reminds me of a question I was asked while participating in a panel about technology in librarianship at the Unpacking the Library conference in Iowa City. The question was whether we were worried about the future – won’t social media, texting, etc. desensitize our children, and make it hard for them to interact face-to-face?

My short answer? No. I am not scared. I am not worried.

Why? Because every generation thinks that some new technology is going to “harm” the children, is going to change the way society functions. Radio? Movies? Television? Video games? Even books? All causes of concern at some point. None (at least so far), has incapacitated an entire generation.

Change is good. Sure, there will be missteps along the way. There may even be instances that one can point to and say “SEE! I told you that thinking has gotten more shallow!” But we are doing ourselves and everyone else that will come after us an unbelievable disservice to ignore change because of such anecdotal evidence. We need to do better by our students. To paraphrase a student post about her knowledge of the internet, we must adapt to change, because it affects us, whether we realize it or not.

And it definitely affects students. As educators (and yes, librarians are educators, too), we must be able to teach and model use, answer questions, and promote reflection about technology and change.

1. Pg. 8
2. Pg. 13
3. Pg. 16-17
4. Pg. 89


Sense making and censorship

January 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

When I was in college, my favorite professor would ensure us that it was OK that we had no idea which end is up, because understanding history is like nailing jelly to the wall.  In my historiography class, he told us this so often that we conspired to make him actually attempt to nail jelly to the wall, producing an extra large iron nail, a hammer and a packet of jelly from the cafeteria.

I’ve been reminding myself of this lately, as I’m trying to make sense of the goals of education.  As pointed out by Jerrid Kruss in Teaching as a Dynamic Activity, goals do not equal the phrases that we name them with.  I agree that labels are slippery things.

I’ve also been pondering about what technology integration means, and what education should look like. Believe me, for a non-teacher, this is a difficult topic to wrap your brain around. Here are a few things that have gotten my brain firing lately:

A TEDxNYED talk by Jeff Jarvis, and the response by Teaching as a Dynamic Activity, and Dan Meyer. George Siemens in his TEDxNYED talk. This post, among others, by TeachPaperless.

Particularly in the Gary Siemens video, I’ve found some phrases that appealed to me: “authentic information interrogation systems,” “the combat for lucidity”, “the act of showing others how we are learning is an instructional task” [this is the value of blogging].

I thought that these posts such as these may benefit others who are thinking about technology, education, and how they interact.  Last week, I shared Jarvis’ talk with a Diigo group I belong to.  Or, I should say, belonged.  When I went to share a TeachPaperless post today, I found that I was no longer a member.  When I tried to contact the owner of the group to find out why, I found that I was blocked from contacting him.  I can only assume the rather brazen title of Jarvis’ talk prompted this.  I must add that nowhere in the Diigo group were any rules posted about content sharing.

I wrote to the owner of the group (it was easy enough to find an email address, along with the rest of his online presence) apologizing for offending him, but justifying my actions of sharing a thought-provoking blog post.  I have yet to hear back.

***Update*** I have heard back.  Apparently, given the title of the post I shared and the fact that he didn’t recognize my name, the owner of the group assumed I was a spammer.  Apparently, the group is also mostly meant for a certain user base. This is interesting, since I think I shared quite a bit with this group over the past year or so (I can’t check because my items were also deleted from the group), and because the group is open to all Diigo members.  But at this point, it doesn’t look to necessarily be censorship, but rather an unfortunate misunderstanding (on both sides).

A Web 2.0 Class: Students Learn 21st Century Skills, Collaboration, and Digital Citizenship | Edutopia

October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is pretty much how I would teach a tech class if I had the opportunity… Only I wouldn’t use the term “Web2.0,” since my eyes automatically roll and my gag reflex is triggered every time I hear the phrase.

A Web 2.0 Class: Students Learn 21st Century Skills, Collaboration, and Digital Citizenship | Edutopia.

Critical thinking In the classroom

August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have not had time to read through this "book" by Microsoft about critical thinking, but I thought it may be worth a look-see. It is not very long, and, from the brief skim I gave it after downloading it a few minutes ago, has a bunch of references for further reading.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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