I apologize for missing the Thursday morning post. It is funny how the days are different when the daily planning for classes has been set a side and the larger picture of learning comes back into focus for me. I am not sure if anyone else in any other industry (if one can think of education as an industry) has experienced that… anyway.
As a BEFORE – I share today’s work in my studio with you. I THINK I have a show coming up in July… I’ll keep you posted, and it was good to get back to work.
Technology in the classroom was my big presentation at last weeks InterActiv Learning Conference 2013 in Whitewater, WI. My largest concern with the use of today’s technology is the misuse of it. Having had an opportunity to listen to a new Freshman in High School (not mine… well, my kid, but not my district) discuss the use (or in some conversations that stand out – misuse) of important resources such as YouTube and Google it struck me that the conversation of how we use technology in the classroom as a learning TOOL and not as “bells and whistles” to entertain or simply to “connect” with the kids was important.
Technology and Interaction in the Classroom (link to my Google Presentation is HERE) was the presentation I had at the conference and I really wish I had heard Michael Wesch’s 201o Presentation at the University of Denver prior to my presentation. The good news (maybe for me) is that I am working in the direction he speaks about in his lecture (link to his presentation is HERE). To keep this brief (and give you a chance to watch his presentation) I feel the most important part of his lecture was to emphasize that the INFORMATION out there is NOT SCARCE and the student of today has all the access to it, in their pocket! The important thing to keep in mind, and this is a brain shift for all in education (kids, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members… everyone), is that the teachers need to help the kids learn HOW to use the technology to be self directed learners. The kids sure know how to entertain themselves with the internet… but strong learners of Web 2.0 tools they are not.
How can we, as teachers, use the tools that are out there to help the kids LEARN how to LEARN? How do we demonstrate the tricks of the trace, the skills that are essential in the process of learning so that the students we have the privileged to work with, can become more independent learners? One of the tricks of using the technology (information really) that is out there is to make sure we are teaching them how to CONNECT to it and not to simply learn it all for the test. This also ties into the thoughts of Noah Chomsky (HERE for a YouTube video Presented at the Learning Without Frontiers Conference – Jan 25th 2012- London) that the TEST is not a very good demonstration of the knowledge the kids have. Yes, maybe for the day and a few weeks later, but then – POOF – that is gone. How can we, as concerned educators and leaders, help the learners make sure that the information we provide them with connects to the world they are living in? The tools are there, and they will be using them for as long as they live. How can we connect the tools, the information that is available, and the techniques to gather, toss aside, sort, filter, and use that information is through demonstration by example, teaching and reteaching, and reviewing the importance of being aware of how the tools and information is to be used.