Showing posts from January, 2012

Technology Shifts Practice

I’ve been thinking a lot about what our response to technology driven change should be.  For instance, is it reasonable to just carry on with our traditions and practices while ignoring important changes brought on by new technologies?  I don’t read status quo in this  definition of practice.  I see ample room for practice to be a shifting phenomenon over time as the environment we live and work in is changed. prac·tice (noun): repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency: Practice makes perfect. Last week I wrote “[b]y adding technology to an environment and not changing current practices, we have the proverbial round peg in a square hole problem. To provide real benefit, technology in classrooms, used by students and teachers, must change practice ( eventually )”, Learning at the Speed of Change .  A teacher colleague of mine emailed me to share that a few teachers had taken exception to this and other related comments about

Learning at the Speed of Change

I visited a grade 6 classroom this past week where every student had a personally owned laptop.  The students were learning about basic geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, and others with more sides which I forget the names for (I could Google them if I needed to).  The teacher ask them to create a program using Scratch to prompt for the number of sides, the length of a side, and to calculate the angle between any two sides, and finally to generate and display the shape.  While I was there, the kids were able to complete, to varying degrees, the pieces to prompt and calculate an angle (not necessarily correctly, but).  Some had a display “algorithm” programmed and were generating all sorts of spiral graph type shapes (not the shape intended mind you).  It was exciting to see their engagement, actually total being absorbed, in the learning activity.  For homework, they were to at least have a correctly running program that calculates and displays the angle.  When I got back to

The Making of Citizens

There is a lot of talk about 21st century this and 21st century that and our education system is not immune to throwing new buzz words around for our century.  Certainly there are important conversations to have with respect to what we expect students to become and how they will contribute to their local community, country, and our world.  What is it that students should know?  What behaviours should they possess?  What skills should they acquire?  What is the purpose of an education?  How should educators prioritize what is to be known?  The pace of change is exponential so how can we continue to teach kids to memorize dates, names, and places that they will likely never remember or care about?  What value is there to memorizing easily findable facts and figures?  I believe we will be navigating some pretty storming days ahead while we sort these things out… In the February 2012 issue of FastCompany , I read an article about the Generation Flux .  It seems that we always need a new

Considering the Future

It seems that more people are increasingly thinking and worrying about, or at least pondering the future.  I watched a show the other night, well as much as I could handle, on CBC Doc Zone called Apocalypse 2012 .  They covered the various doomsday, conspiracy theory, and scientific perspectives on 2012, the Mayan calendar running out in Dec/2012 and the end of the world, etc.  Personally, I don’t buy into this view of the future.  But, I do believe it’s more important in our day than previously to be considering the future, particularly since the pace of change is on the tail end of an exponential trajectory.  Those of us involved in formal leadership positions in educational settings have a responsibility to do our part to prepare the people we work with, for the future.  Leaders in education aught to be students of the future and being ready to lead others in new directions before the future happens “to us”. As a technology leader in a school district, I bump up against the future