Posts Tagged ‘technology’
I chanced upon this display in NIE along the stretch where those that specialize in the visual arts occasionally display their work.
The statement was “Do you know that too much use of technology decays your ietnllginece (sic)”.
I know that the word “intelligence” was misspelt for effect and the statement was designed to provoke. Here are a few of my responses.
My first reaction was: Did you know that if you spell check, you might come across as more intelligent? Punctuation also helps the statement be read as a question. But that reaction adds little value to the conversation and merely indicates that I did not “get” the point.
My second reaction was that a more reasoned statement might read: Thoughtless use of technology might make you seem less intelligent. But a statement like that might not tickle the cerebral cortices as much.
What worries me is student teachers who see the piece and read the statement as fact instead of a point of discussion. I think this form of negative technology determinism is frighteningly common. It is our responsibility as educators to think, do, and show otherwise instead of adding fuel to this destructive and retarding fire.
One other thought. What if the art work was interactive? What if you could visit a URL or scan a QR code to tweet your opinion or leave your thoughts in an online space?
What if we actually used technology to not just expand the reach of art (or any other subject), but also to increase our collective intelligence by sharing and discussing?
“Pedagogy before technology” is a refrain that I espouse. I say this in the context of integrating technology for learning and designing mobile apps.
So I was glad to read someone else write about why technical training for faculty is a waste of time. It is a good read!
Such training is a waste of time for many reasons. Teaching well is not important. Churning out research is more important. Technical training is not the same as meaningful, contextual use.
That aside, there are some faculty members who are passionate about teaching and changing with the times. With these folks in mind, there is a word missing from the title of that article. That word is “unless”. Such training is wasteful unless the pedagogical gains are made clear first.
Much of CeL’s training has been technical and this is a historical practice that is difficult to displace. When an outfit set up with only one academic staff member (me) and almost 20 non-academic members (my team), this makes the task of changing mindsets and practices even tougher.
So we began the journey of change.
One change was for my staff to rationalize WHY before telling HOW and WHAT. For example, why do I need to learn this new tool or method? Why is this strategy better?
Another was expanding our audience to include non-academic staff. This not only helped a previously ignored group, it also helped my team see that they need to appeal to the immersive use of the tool. It was another way of appealing to the WHY first.
Now we have revised some of our workshops and sharing sessions.
The academic staff sharing sessions used to be just that: Teaching staff would share their experiences and stories. In the sessions going on this week, academic staff share their practices (more of the WHY) while CeL staff follow up with the technical HOW and WHAT. We call this the half-and-half sharing sessions.
In a new Blended Learning series, we will offer pedagogical tidbits to academic staff in a bid to get them to bite. We do this by sharing blended teaching strategies in our collaborative classrooms with Web 2.0 tools and Blackboard.
There is at least one more strategy that we hope to implement soon. It has something to do with this…
by Nuno Ibra
I was not able to chat at #edsg this week so I reviewed what my Twitter search found. This week’s topic:
As expected, folks rightly pointed out:
That is a principle I advocate too. But there are exceptions. By that I do not mean what two others highlighted:
There are times when pedagogy should not lead technology. Pedagogy should not be the driver when it is didactic, outdated, or irrelevant.
If that sort of pedagogy rules, then technology use is not transformative. The medium changes but the method does not. Worst of all, it sends a message or establishes a model that that is what technology use is like.
I love the way Joe Sabia combines traditional storytelling with digital storytelling.
Some might consider what he did gimmicky. But I think he used the videos, music, the flicking of photos and even his iPad’s camera to make his point. The story is at the core. The medium helps tell it.
The same could be said with integrating technology into education. The learning (not the teaching) should be at the core. The technology should enable it.
Last Sunday, Geraint Wong of the Straits Times wrote that the Essay software misses the point. [My bit.ly bundle of four articles on the topic] I think that he misses a point in critiquing the use of WriteToLearn and Criterion in essay writing. [My first thoughts on the original article.]
We agree that the software will not help create exceptional writers. But they are not designed to do that. If used properly, you might get good technical, rules-driven writers.
We also agree that the software will not replace the teacher. Instead they can augment and improve what a teacher can do by processing scripts efficiently. Better still, in the hands of self-directed learners (an objective of ICT Masterplan 3), this tool use can allow learners to improve the mechanics of writing on their own. This would allow human teachers to do what they do best when unfettered from the burden of repetition. The teacher can focus on style, subjectivity and substance. The teacher can also focus on helping those that the software cannot help.
But I take issue with the assumption that current media like games, blogs, Facebook and Twitter lead to bad writing. If such media are the reality of some learners now, why not leverage on that as well? By all means, encourage students to observe life while sipping some Milo at a coffee shop as Wong suggested. But there are equally rich behaviours to observe and stories to tell in World of Warcraft and social networks. Just look at the gaming literature and forums for example.
Such media offer two broad opportunities to improve writing. In consumption mode, they allow learners to read, analyze and critique many writing styles. In creation mode, they allow learners to publish their own writing to an authentic audience and their writing can then be subject to the critiquing process.
Wong describes the media as “poorly crafted blog entries, truncated tweets and vacuous Facebook comments”. I’d wager he would agree with me that the media is not the problem; the use of the media is.
Teachers are not getting students to use blogs, Facebook and Twitter to write authentically and critically. If the writing is lousy at such sites, it is because teachers are not drawing attention away from sites like stomp (or using sites like stomp as an example stamp out bad writing). Don’t blame the media or the tools. Blame the pedagogy.
That is where Wong and I have a meeting of minds. It is the teacher that can make the difference. But let us not belittle the software and media that can enhance or enable new ways of teaching and learning. Leverage on them instead!
by Fu Man Jew
First came the phrase “disruptive technologies” to describe things like smartphones because they could change the way we normally do things.
For example, you can take a geotagged photo, upload it a photo or map mashup site, tag and describe it, and in the process provide a view for the benefit of others. This bypasses the experts for photo developing, editing and curating. Take another example: Record an event with your phone (or tweet it), upload it on YouTube (or have it amplified by retweets) and bypass traditional media completely.
Logically, you need both. If you’re going to shoot something, you need a gun. The gun isn’t going to fire itself. You need to give it a hand. Conversely, you may have the intent, but if you do not have the means, you can’t do anything.
What else do we need? I think we need “disruptive policy”. These give the impetus to act. These force us into action. What policies? Policies like embracing mobile technologies. They could force us to rethink the way we conduct classes, meetings, briefings, and more.
How do we get these policies in play? These could be generated top-down, bottom-up, or middle-up-and-down. With the first and third method, you need to create buy in. With the bottom-up method, the users have already bought in. They are already the activists with the technologies in hand. If there are enough of them, you get to a tipping point and policies follow.
If management fears the change, then the policies are restrictive. If not, they enable disruptive. Simplistic? Yes. Unrealistic? No.
Loved this video of the seven spaces for learning:
1. Secret spaces
2. Group spaces
3. Publishing spaces (love the idea at the 7min 45sec mark of a video/tweets being projected on the outside wall of a building)
4. Performance spaces
5. Participation spaces (based on the description in the video, this could be the same as the performance spaces)
6. Data spaces
7. Watching spaces (love the caption “collaborations during listening is encouraged”)
When I drafted this blog entry about two weeks ago, I had read (or reread):
- an interview with Timothy Taylor on The Artificial Ape
- Neil Steinberg’s piece on Buzzing the Facebook Hive
- what Clive Thompson wrote in Wired a few months ago
What jumped out of the digital pages at me was Thompson’s declaration that
The most brilliant entities on the planet… are neither high-end machines nor high-end humans. They’re average-brained people who are really good at blending their smarts with machine smarts.
We shape tools and the tools are increasingly shaping us, e.g., consider how mobile devices are changing our behaviours. As lonely as being on a computer might seem, we are part of a collective as we move in and out of hive minds, e.g., the blogosphere, the Twittersphere, the Facebook realm.
We are cyborgs in that sense. Not the scary type that movies portray, but the more insidious sort that co-evolves with technology.
When I read the BBC news article Great writers ‘fail’ online test, I was not surprised. Why? Two reasons.
First, one of the writing samples was actually a speech. Writing for a speech is not the same as writing for print. Yes, you are writing a speech, but not for someone to read like a book. The words don’t leap out of the medium the same way when they are delivered by the speaker.
Second, technology cannot (yet) replace complex human judgment, emotion and subjective interpretation. While this might have been a case of pushing the limits of technology, I also thought that this was using technology when it did not fit the situation.
Do educators make the same mistake when pushing the envelope with technology? Sure we do. But the harm is not in trying. The harm is in providing fuel for the naysayers to say “I told you so!”
But to the naysayers I reply:
Or as James Arthur Baldwin originally put it: Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.