This is my blog of reflections, musings and ideas. Originally started as a requirement of the Graduate course "Seminar in Educational Technology" at the University of Manitoba. Now that I have finished my Ph.D., I will use the blog explore ideas as I proceed through my work in education & educational technology.
Better late than never? Has education entered the 21st Century?
by Mike Nantais & Jackie Kirk ( originally posted onICTology, imported in September/15)
How long will we talk about preparing students for the 21st Century? The 21st century is a decade old. There has been much written about 21st century skills, 21st century learning and 21st century standards but we are coasting into the last few months of 2010. Has education entered the modern age? The unfortunate truth is, however, that for the most part, we have not. We all too often rely on standardized testing and outdated modes of teaching. Thankfully there are growing pockets of change and innovation, yet it seems that clinging to tradition is the norm. We are not just talking about using 'traditional' methods, like lecture or ‘drill and kill’, indeed, a good lecture has value - one just needs to watch some TED talks to see that. Still, this should not be the main method of teaching - we should be using methods of inquiry, problem based learning, critical reflection and collaboration, among others.
Digital technology offers many opportunities to change existing pedagogy. It also has some limitations and risks, however, a critical and knowledgeable educator can mitigate those risks by choosing what, how and when to use technology to enhance learning. We must be vigilant in promoting and modeling these strategies.
Technology is all around us. Students walk in to our classrooms with laptops and cell phones that offer incredible possibilities. We, as teachers, need to set aside our fears and tap into the opportunities that are inherent in the multitude of devices that are carried in their pockets and knapsacks. It’s time to see past the “no cell phone” policy to a classroom where learning is enhanced through the purposeful engagement of personal technologies and where web resources are available to individual students to access during all parts of our lessons. We must continue to pressure school officials to look forward - to allow the use of the technologies and the Internet and to educate students about their appropriate and ethical use - not hide in the sand and hope it all goes away ... because it is not going to go away.
Late last year my colleague, Dr. Rennie Redekopp (University of Manitoba) and released a new free eBook we edited title Education and Technology: Manitoba Action and Reflection. This book consists of 15 chapters written by Manitoba Educators. The book is divided into 4 parts: Current Trends and Issues, Connecting and Sharing , Stories of Personal Transformation, and Where Do We Go From Here?
The book was an idea I had over a year ago and Rennie agreed to help out. The chapters paint an exciting portrait of educational technology use in Manitoba schools. The editors hope that it can act to inspire others to implement educational technology in thoughtful and meaningful ways.
In a recent TED talk (below), Sugata Mitra contends that schools are not broken, they are obsolete: "I said schools as we know them now, they're obsolete.I'm not saying they're broken.It's quite fashionable to say that the education system's broken.It's not broken. It's wonderfully constructed.It's just that we don't need it anymore. It's outdated." He then goes on to describe his famous 'hole in the wall"experiments and his vision for schools in the cloud or Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), that is, schools in which children explore and learn with and from each other. While this is an intriguing idea - and might have some merit, kids should learn from and with one another, the thing that struck me in his description of the current school system - with which we are familiar, was his contention that they (schools) are not broken, they work in the way they were designed, but rather they are obsolete or out-dated. The…
So, I have signed up for Digital Writing Month. During the month of November various digital writing challenges will be given. It sounds like fun, and I would love to play with some other ways of writing, and improve in this area. The first task is to create an unofficial CV. I considered a way to be a little creative, and decided to make an infographic. I have my students make them to explore ways they can be used in the classroom, so I thought I should give it a try as well. I used Piktochart - it was fun to do and here it is: