Both professionally and personally the future of education interests me: my work at Warwick and my two primary school-aged boys. I know from my experiences in both these areas that schooling and teaching does not work, certainly not for everyone. So, what are we to do?
Do we, as Graham did, encourage children to drop out and explore other avenues? Whilst it worked for him, and other successful people like Sir Richard Branson, it could quite easily have gone the other way. It’s not enough to add more technology on to old teaching methods … as Graham says, “since when did teaching become a delivery system? … but to engage in all aspects of education from the support staff and students are given, resources availability and appropriateness, to the spaces we have to work in and with.
Far too many questions, far too few answers. But, so long as we’re asking the questions, we’ve raised awareness and, hopefully, we can begin to bridge the gap between what we want (or need) and what we have. Yes?
For the moment I’ll have to settle for Graham’s tweets and engaging with him on Twitter, and now this TEDx Talk:
You know I like sketching and sketchnotes, yes? If you do too, whether you realise the full benefit of doodling for pleasure instead of doodling out of boredom, then you’ll love this TED talk from Sunni Brown – Doodlers, unite!
As usual, here are some choice extracts from the talk, ones I like.
“I spend a lot of timeteaching adults how to use visual languageand doodling in the workplace.And naturally, I encounter a lot of resistance,because it’s considered to be anti-intellectualand counter to serious learning.But I have a problem with that belief,because I know that doodling has a profound impacton the way that we can process informationand the way that we can solve problems.”
“Here’s what I believe.I think that our cultureis so intensely focused on verbal informationthat we’re almost blinded to the value of doodling.And I’m not comfortable with that.And so because of that belief that I think needs to be burst,I’m here to send us all hurtling back to the truth.And here’s the truth:doodling is an incredibly powerful tool,and it is a tool that we need to remember and to re-learn.” – Sunni Brown
As technology becomes more ingrained into our daily lives, and our reliance on it for tasks and information increases, so the competition of ‘man vs. machine’ debate hots up. However, Shyam Sankar looks not at this future not as ‘man vs. machine’ but man + machine':
“Isn’t it supposed to be about man vs machine? Instead it’s about co-operation, and the right type of co-operation. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to Marvin Minsky‘s vision for Artificial Intelligence over the last 50 years. It’s a sexy vision for sure, many have embraced it, it has become the dominant school of thought in computer science. Continue reading →
In this TEDx talk Todd Rose compares the difficulties and issues encountered by the US Air Force in the 1950’2 and 1960’s in a severe drop in performance in it’s fighter pilots to the drop in performance in today’s education. The comparison is the design of the cockpit / classroom.
Guess what .. the Air Force found out the hard way that there is no such thing as the ‘average’ pilot. Todd argues that isn’t it about time that education and policy makers figured out that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ students, and that we should be more flexible in how we design learning. Continue reading →
From the first TED Talks Edu programme Sir Ken Robinson outlines his view on what is needed to progress from the imminent ‘Death Valley’ direction to a flourishing, nurturing environment where children grow with and in their learning:
“Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.”
“As we move through the world, we have an innate sense of how things feel — the sensations they produce on our skin and how our bodies orient to them. Can technology leverage this? In this fun, fascinating TED-Ed lesson, learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity.”
There there are those of us (me included) moan about the march of technological innovation over function, development for the sake of it. Few can argue that bringing technology into the fore for those with disadvantages is a bad thing, that developing and using technology to enable.
While Katherine shows a couple of uses and examples in the video what else can we do with this, how can this be used in education? By introducing touch in this way you can bring any substance or texture to the classroom where it would not be possible (or safe) to do so. What does moon rock feel like? What does hard enamel tell you about the integrity of a tooth? What does the surface of a scarf feel like when it’s frozen in liquid nitrogen? How do you spot a possible failure in an engine block when it’s running at 9000 rpm. To experience these things can bring the subject, the science, the learning alive where you would not always be able to?
What do you think, a worthwhile use of enhanced technology and something that can ‘add value’ to a classroom experience?
“Young kids in this project figured out how to use a PC on their own — and then taught other kids. He asks, what else can children teach themselves?”
The results are still being discussed and dissected today, almost 6 years after he first announced and presented his findings. And now Sugata Mitra is back, building on this pioneering work, with his new TED Talk “Build a School in the Cloud” (below).
Having to watch, and comment/analyse, films introduced as “evocative and sometimes disturbing visions of what the future of information technology might hold” is always going to get your attention.
“Who is set to benefit from the personal, constant attentions of information technology, and who might lose out?”
How is education being visualised in “A Day Made of Glass”? You could argue that most of these ‘tools’ are already available in one form or another in society and that schools already do most of what is shown here – maybe not exactly as shown, but some of it: smart boards, NearPod App (teacher presents to student device), tablets, etc. What is shown isn’t as far fetched as you may think, it’s just the way in which it is presented rather than what is presented that is different. How the technology is used outside of the classroom is more ‘futuristic’ and is where you could argue its worth – should children be given space (in or outside) that is free from technology, free for them to experience the world as it is and not through some sanitised technology that reveals the real world through a camera lens?
Following on from previous posts on Augmented Reality (Does it have a place/future in education? and Augmented Reality on campus) I’ve spent a little time trying, and enjoying, the experience of using and creating Aurasmas, but have not got anywhere past the stage of just trying it out. So, if you plan it properly for a classroom environment, what can you do? Well, this TED Talk has some great examples, all it takes is an imagination and some planning, and proper implementation into a learning object:
So, what place does augmented reality (AR) have in the classroom? Here are a few ideas – if you have any of your own (or even already done some) then please leave a comment below):
Place posters on your walls of historical figures, writers, influential (local, national, international) people and have Aurasma overlays (Auras) of video material either from YouTube of those people or performances, record your own, or have your class record the introduction.
Record messages for parents and place the posters in the windows for parents to scan while they wait (hint: change them regularly, keep them guessing and coming back for more!) at the end of the day, or at parents evening.
Extra materials for a science project or presentation to augment the materials provided.
Learn a language by using an audio aura onto the word(s).
AR treasure hunt.
Personal messages from each student in their Year Book.
School newsletter with personal message(s) from the Head and/or staff.
If you present posters at conferences or teaching/learning events then a well placed AR / Aurasma Aura on your poster could be a way to bring moving images, graphical models, or recorded introductions to your work.
There is, however, one downside to AR that I can see right now – that we’re developing resources that encourage us to spend our time looking at the world through the lens on our smart phones.
For me it’s about time developments in technology like this are put to better use – by this I mean for information and learning and not basic mass-produced marketing and advertising: there is nothing particularly clever or innovative about how it’s being used there, it’s just an ad agency using something ‘neat’ for another way to say ‘buy this’ … and here’s a perfect example: O2/Telefonica in the UK has signed up as a commercial partner with Aurasma. This is good news as it mean that more people will be aware of AR (and subjected to it), so could become more widely known, and used. Is this enough to help it gain momentum for classroom use (look what happened to QR Codes)?
Is this using technology for the sake of it … have we just been shown “this is what you ‘can’ do, now work out why” instead of “I want to do xyz, how can I do it?”