Global Education Times, by GESN: GET Global Education News At Your Desktop
This online paper gives new about education from around the world.
See on get.gesnet.org
The Sabretooth story certainly has resonance today. The idea that school is a practical place where we learn life skills is an ideal that is more honoured in the breach than in the observance (to quote Hamlet). Let’s face it, when, since school, have you ever had to sit down and write in response to an unseen question for three hours? The point is that school is not really anything like life outside. Schools are now large institutions that spend much time managing students as much as educating them. There are numerous concerns about Duty of Care and ensuring that Health and Safety requirements are met. We have to ban numerous substances because some students may be allergic etc.
Students are made to behave in ways that are not typical of anywhere else.
Where does this relate to technology? The Sabretooth story talks about adapting education to the needs of the community and to community norms. This is considered radical by many, as were the first schools that adopted teaching methods that utilised technology. The reality of the world outside school now is that students spend a lot of time online. They spend a lot of time collaborating and communicating with others over topics of interest to them. They are perfectly capable of teaching themselves very complex tasks and the online environment provides an arena in which to do this. Just look at all of the videos on You Tube for Guitar Pro for proof of this.
This young man taught himself to play using a computer program. He must have spend hours upon hours and really had to work hard. The feedback he got online was fantastic and he spawned a whole movement of others who emulated him. They were learning about something that they were passionate about and were self-directed.
This blog is set up so that I can reflect on my Masters in Education course at Monash University. The current unit requires a more reflective approach and given that it is about using technology in education a blog was an ideal choice for me. I will endeavour to write at least once a week, but usually more about my reading and my practice.
The unit is about the intersection between innovation and learning and this is an area that I am very interested in. I currently use some technology in my classes, but only things like grouply, ning, wikis (from wikispaces)and blogging as well as the use of Smartboards. I have a Googlesite for one class and we regularly use Googledocs as well.
I use twitter for professional learning but have not used it in class, partly because of access issues and partly due to time constraints as I teach VCE.
One thing that has just occurred to me about the use of technology in education is something that I just read today. I had created a Survey Monkey survey for teachers at my school as part of the preparation of the e-learning plan. One teacher’s response dovetailed with my own philosophy of teaching and learning. The respondent said ‘it’s not just about doing it for the sake of it. It has to have a real purpose’. I was glad that this came up in the survey because it showed that at least some of the respondents had a balanced approach to using technology. Another response was unfortunately, more typical. It was from a VCE teacher who saw their role as preparing students for SACs and exams only and that technology had no place in this. This showed me the breadth of responses at my school and I am sure that this would be seen to varying degrees in most schools.
Futurelab have this amazing website which allows you to quickly see the latest stories in education and technology in the form of a mind map.
<iframe src="http://www.educationeye.org.uk/widget/?sortby=most relevant&width=260&height=400&showcase=true&text_query=" width="260px" height="400px" style="border:
This is just a widget from the site that shows you some of the themes. The site is here.
Obviously lots of people are talking (ot tweeting) about how twitter can be used in an educational way. for a handy article, plus the pros, cons and useful resources, look no further than the TES article here. It contains some interesting arguments and a discussion with teachers who are using it as well as a handy list of useful tweets to follow. Have a look for yourself.