December 3, 2013
“You wander through life and work trying to be useful and happy and sometimes you get humbled with acknowledgement.”
October 16, 2013
Is there an end to school? Bruce Dixon
I have heard of Bruce Dixon for a number of years now and finally met him at the ELH Conference at Lorne. He was MC and facilitated a critical conversation as a workshop after the keynote with each of the four Keynote presenters. I went to every one of them. I learnt a lot from his knowledge but also how to run group discussion to get the key ideas out and people’s involvement.
Bruce did not let us down.
I really loved the summary by decades: 1980s computers for few, 1990s secretarial phase (Office), 2000s social web and now ubiquity. Bruce next explored whether these shifts were fundamental or incremental.
Bruce examined three overlapping notions of emerging web technologies, contemporary pedagogical insight and universal access. I think there are plenty of “emerged” learning technologies which are not understood, known about nor used. My working definition of emerging learning technologies is dependent on people’s awareness. If someone has not heard about a technology it is emerging for them. For some of us Twitter was emerging in 2007 though for others it is really only now emerging into their consciousness to the extent that are considering or be forced to consider its use.
Contemporary pedagogical insight comes from a better understanding of the realities of the modern learners’ world and how they learn and how much do we know. Yes the modern learning world. Twenty one years ago I completed my MEd in non-formal education in the third world. Increasingly I see non- formal education as being the keystone for the modern learners’ world.
The notion of universal access for me bubbles to the surface related issues such as speed of knowledge acquisition at the expenses of understanding, access for some though not all, perhaps due to awareness, choice or socio- economic consideration and access to what by what? In the past there has been universal access though now the difference is the ease and speed of access.
So far he has made me think and reflect and he took us one step further to make us engage in the process of reimagining.
We are being blindsided by talk of a mining boom/building book- locked in old paradigms.
Bruce then explored the Re-imagination of asset services and retail in music, video, textbooks, your wallet, employment storefronts, research and development and of course education. Bruce believes we are plagued by low expectations and we should do something about this. We tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run and underestimate the effect of technology in the long run. What is my expectation?
Principles of contemporary learning
- Modern learners have the ability to access high quality content when ever and in whatever format we need it.
- Modern learners have the ability p for low or no cost
- Modern learners have the ability to form networks
- Modern learners have the ability to form highly interconnected groups around an object or interest.
- Modern learners have the ability save and retrieve information in a variety of formats
- Modern learners have the ability to work in teams to participate in open and distributed projects
- Modern learners have the ability reuse and build upon the work of others.
- Modern learners have the ability to quickly find feedback from multiple sources
- Modern learners have the ability generate large amounts of data about our technological based activities
- Modern learners have the ability to view the learning artefact of others
- Modern learners have the ability to amplify important and noteworthy content.
- Modern learners have the ability to operate in the same spaces as experts and professionals
I my opinion there are a number of questions to his keynote question
- Is there an end of school? No
- Should there be an end of school? No
- Will there be an end of school? No
- Will school not change? No
- Will there be radical changes in school? Some
- Will there be an evolution of change in school? Yes?
Not surprising my answer to the last one – you need patience to run long.
October 15, 2013
AISITIC 2013 reflection on Keynote 1 Kate Birch aka John Hattie
- student expectations /self reported grades
- classroom discussions
- teacher student relations – wonder why expressed that way? – I always think student teacher relations
- quality of teaching
- socio -economic status
- professional development
- computer assisted instruction CAI
- ability grouping /streaming
- mobility – shifting schools
- The use of computers is more effective when there is a diversity of teaching strategies
- The use of computers is more effective when there are multiple opportunities for learning
- The use of computers is more effective when the student not the teacher is in control of the learning
- Missed this one?
- The use of computers is more effective when peer learning is optimised
- The use of computers is more effective when feedback is optimised
- The use of computers is more effective when there is teacher pre-training in the use of computers as a teaching and learning tool
- the beating heart – the soul, the intuition or the subjective reasons for enhanced learning.
- the impact of teacher involvement in TeachMeets and Social media which are not researched as much as yet but shaping how teachers teach.
What do we do with this information?
- Computer Assisted Instruction – what does it include or exclude? The word computer is such a limiting term.
- Where do students get their expectations? Presumably from their experience guided by peers teachers and family
September 18, 2013
Sylvia Martinez: http://youtu.be/eOsavnXSQEU
George Siemens: http://youtu.be/siHENn7zzyk
Brett Lee: http://youtu.be/e2CU-pFpmOQ
George Couros: http://youtu.be/wpTFICS2P1U
Primary school iPad implementation – Learning’s and ongoing challenges,Klaris Phillipson: http://youtu.be/ebEaIc5b_70
Constructing Modern Knowledge, Steve Costa: http://youtu.be/jbPfoLf_rII
Opening the Source Bottle, Paul Connelly: http://youtu.be/qWDqzwyM2oU
BYOD and DyKnow: Helping Students Tune into Learning, Michael Vasey http://youtu.be/0Do-KzEHncc
Investigation of Disconnects between Students, Educators and Administrators that limit use of Mobile Technologies,David Dawson: http://youtu.be/SsiJ0Km3aKo
Unleashing the Power of the Web in Education,Adam Naor: http://youtu.be/fbIhdppXO04
The Pedagogy of 21st C Inquiry Learning – Moving beyond programs and apps,Bronwyn Stubbs, Mark Kent & Fiona Webster: http://youtu.be/DddjPkMk4dk
September 11, 2013
Reflections on Office 365 and Google Apps for Education
I am raising more questions than answers. There are multiple ways to achieve the same or similar outcomes when it comes to different browsing platforms. At the moment I thought I would spend some time reflecting on Office 365 and Google Apps for Education.
I get the sense that there is good access to the normal cloud version of the Microsoft suite, sites, applications for meetings, a decent amount of storage and attempts at collaboration with Office 365. In the Google apps there are the Google versions of word, spreadsheets, good storage with Google drive and sites for web pages. Google’s strength is in the collaboration through Google+ and Google documents.
Now I am going to try and line them up side by side. I have a preference for Office 365 for documentation. The formatting issues and difficulty of using Google spreadsheets draws me back to the traditional Microsoft suite mainly for the reason that students, especially for assessment tasks, like to have their formatting stable and saving files in and out of Google documents is just another step that is not required. Personally I have not had a lot of use for One Note, though many of the students I work with love using it for note taking and organisation. Office 365 is working on including Yammer as a part of the social enterprise or collaboration side of things. I sense it is there attempt to match it with Google’s solid platforms for collaboration in learning through Google docs, blogger, Google+.
So the question for me since, both have different strengths and weaknesses, is to see if there is a platform I would prefer to use and then look elsewhere for what is not on offer in that platform. Go with Google for the collaboration and cope with the deficiencies in the software side of things. Go with Office 365 and selectively use other cloud applications and webtools.
What a school chooses to do depends on resources and existing infrastructure. If you have a Microsoft platform with Exchange and perhaps even SharePoint then Office 365 is an extension and a logical progression. Then perhaps you can look at other cloud services for blogging (WordPress), wikis (Wikispaces), social networking and collaboration (Twitter, Edmodo , Facebook) to add value for the collaboration and learning tools.
Sometimes if your school is part of a system then it might be economical to have a core team develop Google Apps in Education and push it across a system of schools. However, what is the best scenario for independent or small schools? Do they have someone to get Google Apps in Education working in a sustainable manner? Is there an economy of scale for small or independent schools to invest in Google Apps for education which usually involves a changing from one system to another compared to the cost of Office 365 and adding other web platforms as required?
So the final set of questions for me focuses on finance, time for implementation and the learning outcomes. I think schools in systems or smaller schools could get value out of Google Apps in Education and perhaps even the seemingly cost effective Chromebooks. For me it raises questions of the level of support required to be maintained at a system level, security and the clunky manner in which it operates. Continuing the Office approach is perhaps more controlled, costly and secure. In terms of time for implementation I sense more planning is required for Google Apps in Education compared to Office 365, though time needs to be also added for other possible cloud based applications that might be developed if the latter course was adopted. Now in relation to learning outcomes, unless you bring the students and staff and broader school community with you, it will all perhaps be for nought.