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Showing posts from 2010

Student Spaces

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I think that it is getting more complicated for school districts to decide what to buy or build and what to leverage for technology learning spaces.  The past few years have brought so many options, many for free, out on the public Internet.  Tech savvy teachers are taking their students to wiki, blog, google docs, social networking, social bookmarking, video sharing, and other spaces on the public Internet.  There are so many fantastic tools available for free.There are some challenges though with just using what’s out there on the Internet…privacy law issues, especially for Canadians, and more so for British Columbians (obligation to protect student identity) multiple digital identities to create and manage (this seems to be evolving though – often a user can login with their google, twitter, or facebook account) different tools have different setup and navigation details = complexity for less tech savvy teachers (kids care less about this though) complexity for parents – they have …

Parents want to know about technology and education

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I have never done this before - open source a presentation.  I was invited by our District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) to present in January to parents on educational technology, the future, and digital responsibility.  Seems like a pretty straight-forward topic hey.So, I am thinking of an outline something like this:Comparing / contrasting of school before technology and school today to show how things have already changed Talk about some interesting technologies that are available today but not necessarily existing in schools, yet Share some possible future scenarios of how technology could change education and create a wow effect Talk about what is happening today in our classrooms and show some interesting short clips that I’ve gathered from classroom visits this past fall of students and teachers using educational technology today Provide some context to digital responsibility and emphasize the importance for parents to know and be involved with their kids online life I’ve see…

Technology is a Game Changer for Learning

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I know, it’s not about the technology.  We all say it.  But, I think we may be kidding ourselves.  Look around and you’ll see technology changing and challenging almost everything.  It makes things possible that weren’t necessarily even a thought before.  Think about the iPhone – did the millions upon millions of people “know” they needed it before it was?  Our modern tools, conveniences, and inventions today would not be possible to design, engineer, or produce without sophisticated technology.For schools and classrooms there is often a debate about technology as a tool, technology as a skill, or even that there is no need for it.  We often suggest that technology is a nice to have but real teaching and learning can continue on without it as it always has.  In light of all the writing and discussion about 21st century learning, personalized learning, etc., is this really still the case?“Technology can provide new options for assessment and improving learning outcomes.”, BC Premier’s …

Learning Today and in the Future

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In my classroom visits I encounter all sorts of great examples of flexible learning environments.  I’m specifically interested in how technology is being used, good or bad, to support teaching and student learning.  What I increasingly see are natural, seamlessly integrated uses of educational technology and less of the standalone technology focused uses.  Check out this cute K/1 class learning about the number 10 using a variety of technologies, physical objects, and student interactions. K’s and 1’s learning about the number ‘10’ This teacher created opportunities for kids to use a variety technology with other traditional classroom objects and tools.  It is important to note that the technology really does need to be in the classroom and not in a lab for the occasional “field trip”.  I had a great time that day – if I was a teacher I’m pretty sure Kindergarten would be high on my list of preferred grades to teach.It is interesting how the notion of “personalization of learning” or “…

Our Students are Immersed in 3D Learning

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We are fortunate to have very creative teachers in Coquitlam School District.  A couple of our middle school teachers (at Banting), on their own initiative, discovered Quest Atlantis, a 3D immersive learning environment.  Quest Atlantis (QA) is “an international learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-16, in educational tasks” developed at the University of Indiana.  Meghan describes how QA supports her students learning Meghan Enga provides a great overview of how her students are using this.  She is partnered with Cory Cleto (another teacher at Banting Middle school) and her class on this initiative.Quick side bar, it’s amazing how easily these kids are able to talk about what they’re doing and learning.  With no preparation, warning, and very little prompting, they take us on their own personal learning journeys.  How cool is that.Dr. Sasha Barab is the principle researcher for the Quest Atlantis project.  From Dr. Barab’s web…

Students need Technology and Teachers

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I had the good fortune to be invited to the staff professional development (PD) day (Nov. 26) at Gleneagle Secondary School as a speaker (you can view my presentation here).  More importantly though, I was able to sit in on the student panel session.  Five grade 12 students were asked to speak about their use of personal technology at school and in class, in particular cell and smart phones.  Their use ranged from addiction (yes, really) to indifferent.This school staff had recently been debating the use of cell phone technology in class (see blog post here by @bryanjack).  I am impressed that they included student voice in their PD day.  The back and forth between the students and their teachers (and vice principals) was very open, honest, and authentic.  Teachers had an opportunity to “drill” them on how teacher policies (ban, allow, or…) for personal technology affected them.  One student admitted to being very capable of covert texting…  Overall, the key message was that cell/mobi…

Overcoming the Digital Divide

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Many school districts have socio-economic diversity.  I know in our District there are school communities that are very affluent and others where families are quite poor.  We also have schools where there is a diverse mix of affluent and poor families.  When technology and access to the Internet is brought into the mix, we are unfortunately faced with the Digital Divide, a canyon so to speak, between have and have not families. (photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bestrated1/29567927/)We, as are many other school systems, talk about how technology (laptop, netbook, mobile) will become a common school supply.  This is based on the belief that tech costs will continue to decline and families often buy game consoles that cost about what a netbook costs today.  I wonder how close we are to this becoming a reality?  One where all families have equal access to technology in their homes, connected at high speed to the vast Internet, and their children have a mobile learning device to…

Thoughts on being Digitally Responsible

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I wrote a post Digital Natives Need Infrastructure last spring about a visit I made to our first Digital Immersion classroom at Riverside Secondary school.  That visit and subsequent workshops with principals and IT staff on Digital Tools and Social Responsibility spawned a priority for our District to review and revise our procedures.  We need to ensure they are current and able to guide our students and employees in being responsible in their use of digital tools, services, and content.  The need for increased bandwidth is another top priority but without digitally responsible use, bandwidth on its own is not the solution to an overused network.  While writing Living and Learning Responsibly in the Digital World and then  Privacy, Living and Learning Digitally, I reflected on some examples of students not being digitally responsible.  What digital “foot print” are students leaving? (photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/langwitches/5141256792/)A small team of amazing staff …

Education for an automated future

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I just got back from a short trip to Toronto, ON, Canada.  I used my iPad with my kindle reader to read some books on the way there and back.  It’s amazing that I can have 1/2 dozen books on a thin electronic slate, highlight and add notes, and later sync it up to “the cloud” for use later.  E-readers are disruptive technologies… While sitting in a cab cruising through the city, I wondered about the economy.  Actually, I think a lot about our economy these days.  I am overwhelmed with the complexity and magic that defines the economy.  Small shops on obscure streets, massive 50 story business towers, huge hotels, hospitals, government buildings, university facilities, restaurants, people walking everywhere, grid locked traffic with people coming and going, and so on.  At the airport, there are untold numbers of people going to and coming from hundreds or thousands of locations.  Some for pleasure and some for business.  Just one day in Toronto probably represents billions of dollars o…

Technology enabled choices for Students and Teachers

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I recently had the privilege of visiting a couple of our middle school classrooms.  Our middle schools have students in grades 6-8 and they are organized into teams of approximately 120 students who share teachers for their core subjects then explore other topics or subjects with specialist teachers.One classroom I visited is led by a technology specialist teacher James Gill.  I wrote briefly about this visit in a previous post Preparing Students through Educational Futuristics.  In this classroom, James was facilitating skills development and collaboration with a variety of technical tools including discussion boards within our my43 portal and using Google Sketchup (free) to propose designs for their new school to open in 2014.  Here is James talking about the setup for the learning activity… James talks about using discussion board to brainstorm school design Emily took the lead with a topic discussing the pros and cons of Smart boards vs. White boards and shares some perspective from…