“What we know today will get us to tomorrow, but we’ll have to learn more again tomorrow to keep ahead … welcome to the Social Age, where change is constant and we live in constant beta.”
I’ve never thought about learning like this before, other than I know I get bored quickly so find new things to keep me engaged and entertained. But, with the constant bombardment of new technologies, new networks, new applications to old techniques, etc. we are indeed in ‘constant beta’.
And I mean ‘we’ in the context of learning professionals (which I’m exploring with my next book project: follow here for news -#EdTechBook) that we need to not only keep up with developments but somehow keep ahead of them. I know this is near impossible, but we can at least be proactive in how we approach the changes, reflect on our own experiences, and make suggestions and engage with each other (and the students). From this will come better understanding and a clearer picture of what could be used, how, where, why, and (importantly) by whom. Continue reading
I’ve had (and still got, somewhere) an iPod Mini, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and my iPod Classic. Why am I still favouring the unpopular Classic over the other more fashionable or stylish iPods. Easy … storage.
My music iTunes library is over 64gb, and the Classic (I have a capacity of an advertised 120gb – realistically only about 113gb) was the only decently priced option to store it all.
And Apple have killed it off. It’s probably in favour of the touchscreen rather than the out-of-date click-wheel (I still like it though), but there isn’t an alternative with the capacity for my whole library. This means I’m going to be mega annoyed when/if my Classic develops faults and I have to look a the quite frankly inferior options.
I have my Classic in the car during the week so I can listen to something I want (without the inane and annoying radio DJ dribble/banter), and it’s in the kitchen plugged in to the stereo at the weekend providing background music and a lively environment. Continue reading
Here’s what I learned last week … to call someone a Luddite, in the context of someone who is reluctant to be involved or get involved in technology, is wrong.
Hang on, back up a bit. At ALTC last week Audrey Watters spent a whole hour walking us through technology in history and literature without actually talking about technology at all. From Frankenstein’s monster to Luddites I learned more then than in any single History or literature lesson at school! Yes, really.
So, what’s wrong with Luddites? Well, nothing really, but it’s how we use the term when referring to colleagues who ‘fight’ against technological change or development. Audrey set all of us straight on this – the history of Luddites, and our use of the term, is far from fear of technology or technological change.
Infographics are great, when they have something worthwhile to say, and show the data in a worthwhile way. This is one of the better ones – The Education of Tomorrow.
Here are some of the headline details from the infographic:
- 90% of college students and high school seniors (yes, another US centric dataset) see tablets as valuable educational tools.
- 63% of college students and high school seniors believe tablets will transform the way college students learn in the future.
- 60% of college students prefer digital formats when reading books inside or outside of class.
- Continue reading
The issue of teacher pay, pension, and working conditions is in the public arena again today as UK teachers go out on strike: “Thousands of pupils in England and Wales will miss lessons on Thursday as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) walk out on strike.” – BBC News
And again the thorny issue of parents being fined when they take their children on holiday during term time is linked to the lost day(s) of teaching from the strike action -beautifully summed up in this News Thump (spoof news site) article: “As it is, when my child misses school I’m endangering their education and liable to a significant fine, but when they miss school due to a teacher’s strike it’s ‘in their best interests and helping their long-term future’.”
As someone who works in education, and a parent with children in early years schooling, I sympathise with both sides. But what I want to comment on is the issue of parents being able to take their children out of school for a family holiday during term time. I am sure that there are instances when it is not a good idea, e.g. before exams. But surely there’s something both the parents and the school can agree on for the benefit of the kids? Continue reading
A good article on education and technology, on the Chattanoogan website – ‘Technology In Education: The Future Is Now‘:
“Because we now live in a technology-based world, we believe in the smart use of technology in the classroom to facilitate student engagement is no longer optional. The use of online education and technology can also effectively address the age-old problem of having students on various levels in the same classroom and allow for the simplified creation of personalized learning plans.”
“As educators, and as an association, we understand that questioning basic assumptions and asking difficult questions are what education leaders are expected to do. We should regularly analyze advantages and disadvantages of the benefits and growing dependence on technology in the classroom, workplace and society as a whole.”
“However, technology can act as an impediment to education as well. All is not equal with technology. Some students have unlimited access to computers and internet at school and home while others have very little to none … technology infrastructure varies widely from urban to rural areas. How can you create a technologically-based curriculum for all if all do not have access to computers / software / broadband? How do you make sure the teachers are trained on the ever changing apps and software that are available? And if you have a school where most every student has a device, how do you make sure each student stays on task and their data is safe?”
Image source: The Bookcase (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
This resource from Vicki Davis – “A Guidebook for Social Media in the Classroom” on Edutopia is a good starting point for planning the inclusion of social media in learning spaces.
Vicki closes by saying something very similar to what I submitted to the Mobile Learning – “Improving Learning with Mobile Technology” eBook:
“Social media is here. It’s just another resource and doesn’t have to be a distraction from learning objectives. Social media is another tool that you can use to make your classroom more engaging, relevant and culturally diverse.”
The list consists of:
- Tweet or post status updates as a class.
- Write blog posts about what students are learning.
- Let your students write for the world.
- Connect to other classrooms through social media.
- Use Facebook to get feedback for your students’ online science fair projects.
- Use YouTube for your students to host a show or a podcast.
- Create Twitter accounts for a special interest projects.
- Ask questions to engage your students in authentic learning.
- Communicate with other classrooms.
- Create projects with other teachers.
- Share your learning with the world.
- Further a cause that you care about.
What would you add (or remove) from the list to help others utilise students and their devices?
Image source: Life on the wire (CC BY 2.0)
A few months ago I was trying to decide on whether to spend £100 on an Apple TV or £30 on a Google Chromecast. I opted for the cheaper, newer, untried, unknown Chromecast.
Here are my thoughts, so far … it’s not there yet, but it has potential.
It is easy to set up and easy to use. Simply plug it into an HDMI slot on the back or your TV. If’ you’ve a USB port on the TV too then use this for power, if not you’ll have another cable trailing on the floor to a plug. Follow the short, simple instructions to set Chromecast up on your wifi, either through your laptop or iPad browser, and that’s it. It took about 3 minutes in all and then I was away.
Last night I surfed through the list of Netflix movies looking for something different, something new, something that would engage me on a level a blockbuster or classic film wouldn’t. Thanks to whatever algorithm Netflix uses to offer me a recommendation I went from a documentary about the Le Mans 24 race (“Every Second Counts (2012)“) to a skater docu-film called ‘Bones Brigade, an autobiography‘.
Yeah, that’s what I thought too; “really?” Initially. But it appealed to me: I’d never been any good on a skateboard as a kid, even worse on roller-skates. I do enjoy watching things like the X Games and other (Red Bull) type skater/surfer/extreme sport films. I alsohave admiration for the things skaters could do, and for the things they’ve broken to try and master a trick or move. This documentary, about a group/team of skaters who redefined skating and what the ‘sport’ meant, was quite an emotional roller coaster for me: here were a bunch of misfits, goofballs, loners, outsiders, etc. who refused to give up when, in the early 1980’s, the sport and skate parks (their arenas) disappeared and were ripped up.
“When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.” IMDB Continue reading
New Year, new challenges, new opportunities. That’s as much happy-stuff I can muster at the moment – it’s the 3rd day back to work after a wonderful, but tiring, 2 week festive break and I’ve got a stinker of a cold (not that you wanted to hear that).
So, to start the year on a positive note this course, ‘Bring Your Own Device for Learning’, not only attracted my attention but I was also invited to help create and facilitate it. Running from January 27th to 31st, the ‘Bring Your Own Device for Learning’ (BYOD4L) short (open) course, is from the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group. Participants will be able to immerse themselves (students or teachers) in a range of opportunities to explore the use of smart devices for learning and teaching in their professional context in an immersive, open and collaborative environment.