Posts Tagged ‘old’
I received a printed notification from my son’s school that he needs to buy an electronic dictionary.
On one hand, I am glad that the school has taken half a step forward in going paperless. On the other, I wonder if that step is worth the while.
We already have electronic dictionaries in his iPad. They are either free or cost very little compared to another electronic device.
The school authorities will argue that an iPad costs much more or that students might lose/steal the iPads and that it could be a source of disruption.
The iPad costs much more because it is a multifunction device. The electronic dictionary is a monofunction device.
An iPad has players and recorders (for audio, photo, video), at least one Web browser, communication tools, notebook, clock, reminder list, contacts list, calendar, etc.
Install apps and the device becomes a dictionary, thesaurus, QR code reader, feed collector, newspaper, e-book reader, white board, social media centre, gaming device, data collector, entertainment centre, presenter, media editor, remote control, map, travel planner, and more.
You can squeeze just about every and any textbook and assessment book into the iPad. The device can hold its charge the whole school day. The school does not have to provide every student with an iPad if they adopt a BYOD policy (you bring what you have, we provide only for those who do not have one).
The iPad then becomes like the school uniform. Everyone has one and is required to have one.
What schools then need to think about and act upon are access and usage policies, insurance, and technical support. Those are administrative disruptions that might be inconvenient but are necessary.
The better disruptions come in the form of learning how to teach with mobile devices. Do you deliver or do you facilitate? When do you focus on content or thinking skills? How do you manage classes differently?
I have other thoughts about telling kids to buy monofunction devices:
- These officially approved devices benefit vendors or companies in the long run
- They become yet another item to carry (or lose) in overloaded bags
- These devices cannot be updated as quickly as apps and slates can
- They are a means of maintaining old school habits instead of developing new and relevant ones
We will not have a choice but to get the electronic dictionary because not getting it means my son lacks a tool in his kit. That is like being forced to buy another old screwdriver when I already have a better set of screwdrivers, a Swiss Army knife, or an electronic screwdriver.
But that is not going to stop parents or educators like me who want to prepare our kids with multifunction devices in a multifacted world.
by Total Mayhem
How often have we heard the phrase, “I am old school in that I prefer…”? For example, instead of sending e-cards or reading e-books, someone might say that they prefer writing actual cards or thumbing paper-based books.
“Old school” usually refers to some past practice or dying art form. It is viewed more positively and it might even be cool to be old school. For example, one might prefer vinyl records to MP3 files or to chemically develop film instead of using digital photographs.
Whatever the case “old” is associated with “school”. Why? The association arises from the perception that schools are like that.
Like what? For me, that means being stubbornly old fashioned, resistant to change, and unreasonably conservative.
In this day and age, we cannot afford to just be old school, charming as some practices might be. Most of us have moved beyond the need to milk our own cows, dig our own toilets, and chisel stone to write.
Likewise, in modern education, we should move beyond the perceived need to just lecture, teach to the test, and use the classroom walls to define the world. The rest of the world has moved on or is realizing that it needs to move on quickly.
Nowadays we do not need a school building and the teachers that come with it to get an education. We just need to know how to consolidate the resources and expertise online for free or for a fee. When enough people start to do this at all levels of education, old schools will cease to be relevant.
Perhaps the old school folks need to know why and how the new ways are better. Perhaps they need to draw inspiration from their learners who already know how to learn (until we tell them otherwise). Perhaps some of them just need to get out of the way.
I just read a LifeHacker article that quoted a web designer who said “A person becomes old when his mind is more occupied by memories than aspirations”.
People fell over themselves retweeting that quote.
On one hand, I can understand why. It is a call not to rest on your laurels or not live in the past. Good call.
On the other, consider what happens if you are 80 or suffer from some condition whereby you cannot remember things. If you follow the logic of the quote, the mind is less occupied by memories and therefore you are young. But that does not mean you are young or mentally adept. Reality bites.
Older is is wiser. Older is hesitating to retweet because something does not smell quite right. Older is taking the time to reflect and investigate. Older is making fewer repeated mistakes.
It is Friday and it is time for something light.
Earlier this week, I experienced my first MRI scan. It was nothing serious. A doctor just wanted a better look into my right leg that I have injured several times over the years.
I had to take all metal objects off my body for the procedure. When I changed into my hospital gown, I noticed the following warnings on a sign in the changing room.
But I had to wonder just how old the sign was. How many of us still carry floppy disks or consider a beeper (pager) a precision electronic instrument?
I was also wondering why anyone would want to bring mops, vacuum cleaners, and wagons to their MRI appointment.
I thought to myself: What an old school warning sign! Then I began to wish that there were warning signs for old school mindsets and practices.
I think I just found a pet project…
Sometimes I get asked to give talks at seminars. I have a standard reply: I try not to give talks because not everyone is ready to listen.
Recently, I was asked to give a talk on game-based learning for an ICT seminar at a local institute. As my schedule was packed, I suggested that they watch my TED talk and we could video conference if needed. The organizers preferred that I be physically present.
I pointed out that the seminar was supposed to be about the power of ICT in education and that we would be using ICT while talking about ICT-mediated strategies. The organizers did not relent, nor did I.
I do not believe in giving only talks about ICT. I prefer workshops where we can uncover the whys, hows, and so whats of ICT, roughly in that order. A seminar is not the best way to do this.
So if any of the organizers read this, know that I said no on principle. And thank you for reminding me why I stick to my guns.