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Posts Tagged ‘technology

I am in the midst of preparing for a Masters course that will debut early next year.

The last three weeks has seen me spending between three to six hours every day reading, writing, revising, and reflecting. I have done this despite technically being on vacation with my family.

The last few years of being an education consultant have taught me how to be constantly working while simultaneously taking a break. That is not an oxymoron. It is simply a sign of the times. So my revisited image quote is timely.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

The revised image is above and it was based on the one below.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

I actually like the original because of what it contains and the way it is composed. Technology is the enabler for this mindset, but it is our children’s interest that is the impetus for such change.

So why change the background image? I could not resist the visual message that combined a space-age suit and crumbling books. It is contrary to tell our children to reach for the stars while burying them with our hangups.

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This video snippet from the BBC painted a positive picture of the possible effects of mobile use by babies or toddlers. It was a better clip than the CNA video last year [1] [2] not because it was tech-positive, but because it was less biased.

The CNA video last year asked the question “Can e-learning make you dumb?” and sought to back up its answers with what its writers had already decided instead of what they could investigate.

The BBC video was not as negative, even when the narrator seemed to sneak in negative associations with mobile device use like “young children sat down using technologies won’t be as good at coordinating their bodies”. It was simply repeating a commonly held concern by lay folk.

The takeaways from the video should not be that the small sample of kids was representative of a larger group nor that kids who used technology were no worse with gross motor skills and better at fine motor skills.

If we learn anything at all from these videos it should not be the opinions on the effects of e-learning or mobile devices. It should be that we need to read, listen, watch, or otherwise process all sources of information with critical filters.

One coarse but vital filter is identifying bias. The CNA video asked questions and rushed to answer them with unbalanced certainty. The BBC video, while seemingly positive, asked questions and left room for even the child expert to express doubt.

One video tried to tell you WHAT to think; the other video could teach you HOW to think.

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Ah, technology. We hardly knew thee.

The video should serve as a reminder to 1) remain nimble, and 2) stand on timeless foundations.

So what other technology deaths lie ahead? The video above mentioned a few that were already announced for 2019.

As for the rest, we might need to look into our collective crystal ball. Perhaps one made of bendable glass.

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This new video provides an old lesson. The lesson is not just on journalism or politics, but also on using technology.

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The more obvious lesson on technology is learning enough about it and practising with it before using it. These will help you work out the kinks or to anticipate issues that might arise.

The less obvious lesson is designing for meaningful integration, not superficial flash. Technology use might impress immediately, but technology integration makes impact over the long run.

When technology is integrated, it happens so often and so naturally as to be mundane. The technology becomes transparent and it only obvious when it stops working or is missing. This happens when technology is not an enhancer, but an enabler.

Technology is the toolset that wields that power. The title and the last sentence were what I took away from watching the video below.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson has a way of using plain speak to explain science. In emphasising the importance of scientific literacy, he told a story about Christopher Columbus and opined the outcome of a theoretical alien visit.

He told a story of how Columbus fooled native Americans with his knowledge of a lunar eclipse. He also explained why intelligent life in the form of aliens, not just movie versions, would beat us flat if it came to that.

Knowledge becomes power when you have something that someone else does not. However, that power is empty until the knowledge is embodied in technology as a form of delivery.

If that principle holds true, then why are some teachers still withholding technology from (or using older technologies with) their students? Might they be trying to cling on to power as misguided practice?

This EdSurge article says that The Key to 21st Century Classrooms Isn’t Tech. It’s Evolved Teaching.

No, not quite.

“Evolved teaching” is important, but that could apply to any other issue, e.g., inclusiveness, individualisation, socioemotional learning, etc. Nonetheless, I agree that “evolved teaching” is necessary for meaningful, seamless, and powerful integration of technology.

However, there is no simple, reductionist answer to something as complex as designing and implementing a “21st century classroom”.

Just what is a 21C classroom?

Certainly not just the timeframe. There are classrooms that are years ahead and still far too many that are decades and even centuries behind. All these are in developed and developing countries.

Why is the phrase delimited by a “class” and a “room”?

Yes, lessons take place in a classroom, but learning extends outside of it. Follow learners over a period of time and you will realise just how much and how often learning — technology-enabled or not — happens outside the four walls.

The title reduces the issues to a single key and lock. There are many keys for many locks. The locks will keep changing shape and so must the keys we forge.

I also take issue with reducing the importance of technology and how it evolves. If there is no new and rapid development of technology, there is also no pressure to change.

What readers and writers of such articles need to focus on is evolved mindsets. Mindsets shape attitudes, attitudes shape behaviours. Behaviours like teaching, for instance.

Complex problems cannot be reduced to simple lock-and-key statements. They sound good as rhetoric, but they cannot and should not be given as advice or implemented as policy.

Despite the doubling of tweet length, this one (archived version) needs more context.

The sharing session might focus on WHAT the context is and HOW the supposed system auto-magically does this.

But I wonder if it will explore the WHY of doing this. Answering this question explores the ethics of incorporating such technology. This might include what data is collected and how algorithms run to make summary decisions.

Let us not forget where others have gone or are going before, i.e., how Facebook and Google are under the microscope for not being more careful with student data.

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