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.
Experience vs Youth?
Once again this year, I have been having a series of guest speakers come into my classroom of education students, both in person and via technology. Most of the presenters have a wealth of experience in their area and I am always amazed at how easily they give their time to freely share, pass on their learning, and interact with soon to be teachers. This past week saw the always thought provoking and entertaining Dean Shareski join us via a google hangout - we even got to see & hear his dogs. This week was a bit of a change of pace. I invited three young, new to the profession teachers (2 in their first year and 1 in her 3rd) to come and talk to my students about the things they were doing with technology in the classroom, as well as sharing stories of their challenges, frustrations, and solutions. These three shared some fascinating ideas, interesting and creative initiatives, and some great solutions to problems that arose due to a lack of Internet access, hardware, and other restrictions. I was proud of these teachers, and they could relate to my students well, giving some great tips, some of the realities - and exhibiting the enthusiasm they had for their work. It made me think about the types of people I ask to present. The experience of these experts, such that Dean possesses, offers so much depth, thought, and wisdom to share with those new to the profession. However, the recent experience of youth, and the problem solving and learning that goes along with it, offers much for discussion and contemplation as well. I have had a range of guests drop in over the past few years, I love the discussion, reflection, and learning that it provokes. I also thank these educators who willingly give their time to share with people they do not know. I am convinced that they all offer my students so many opportunities to learn and grow. I will continue to invite a mix of guests, we can learn lots from the stories all of these people tell. So this week, I send thanks to Tiff, Tyler & Kirsten for dropping by and sharing, and prompting me to consider the vast expertise that selflessly drops into my classes each year.
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: