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Posts Tagged ‘adapt

TPACK+ model
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, © 2012 by

If you asked me what the most important things to take away from the TPACK+ model of technology integration are, I would suggest:

  1. Planning for technology integration is only effective if you concurrently consider the nature of the content, pedagogical strategies, and technological affordances. This is the “sweet spot” of the TPACK+ model.
  2. An even more vital consideration is the context. This might not be obvious in the model because it is labelled at the bottom. However, it surrounds the entire model. Context should dictate decisions about technology integration.

I take context very seriously and model this for my courses and workshops. I do this by first finding out as much as I can about my learners.

For a course that just ended two nights ago, I had to make changes to adapt to participants who were collectively different from those that took the same course just five months prior.

Why? This batch learners was youthful. Seventy-one percent (71%) were teachers while the rest were leaders or managers. The same proportion had less than one year (9.7%) or no (61.3%) official teaching experience.

Five months ago, the proportion was about even between the newbies and the more experienced educators. The batch before that was almost the polar opposite: Almost two-thirds were experienced teachers while the rest were fresh faces.

If I did not conduct a survey, I could have simply gauged their experience and ICT readiness by their preferred technology. Given the choice to bring a device, my most recent class had a total of only two or three laptops. Everyone else was clutching an Android or iOS device. The earlier batches were laptop dominant and I had to cater for power strips all over the room.

The shifts were visually and qualitatively obvious to me. The shifts were clearer with quantitative data. But both forms of sensing were pointless if I did not adapt to the changes in context.

While there are many contextual elements — for example, physical environment, time of day, overall energy of learners, social cohesiveness — the technology context was a key consideration if I was to provide similar content and leverage on powerful pedagogical strategies.

To those ends, I used the new Google Sites as it seamlessly adjusted to screens on large or small devices. I embedded tools and resources that were mobile-friendly.

The access and consumption was flawless. However, creating on mobile is still an issue. For example, mind mapping tools like Coggle and even Google Docs still do not work evenly across different mobile browsers. Some of my participants could view, but not edit. Fortunately, they were grouped with others who could. Therein lay another benefit of group work.

This is the bottomline: It important to sense shifts in the ground; it is just as important to adapt to changes. Just as there are differences between individuals, one group of learners is different from the next. I reflect more so I need to react less.

An AFP article reported that Obama bemoans ‘diversions’ of IPod, Xbox era. It’s a headline designed to sell papers or to get eyeballs moving across the iPad with that very article on screen.

Elsewhere in the article:

“We can’t stop these changes… but we can adapt to them,” Obama said, adding that US workers were in a battle with well-educated foreign workers. “Education… can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time,” he said.

We must do more than adapt.

When a new technology disrupts the way people do things like socialize, learn, play, or even get married, some folks respond with fear. They would rather arrest the development of that technology.

When the tide starts to turn against them, they might admit the need to adapt. But adapting is like what you do when you travel from one time zone to another and then back again. You adapt to the new time zone in order to function, but you return to where you were and do the same old thing.

Some folks adopt wholesale the technical, social, and in the case of teachers, pedagogical affordances of a tool. Some innovators don’t just live with the given affordances but create new ones. As they change the tools, the tools change their behaviours and belief systems.

After a while, we stop noticing the technology. It becomes transparent because we assimilate it. It becomes part of us and what we do. We don’t even think of the technology as odd because it is natural for the light to go on when we flip the switch or water to come out when we turn on the tap. This is technology integration as its best: Critical, enabling and invisible.

But back to Obama, who claims that he did not know how to operate “iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations”. Perhaps he should take some lessons from the Prime Minister of Norway, who upon being stranded at an airport due to the ash from the Icelandic volcano, got work done using his iPad.

It’s time to stop arresting or merely adapting. It is time to adopt and assimilate.

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