Thursday, August 27, 2009

The "New" Education

In this new age and economy of learning, we are all faced with choices. The first choice is to use technology or not to use technology. While the specific technologies may change from grade to grade, from subject to subject or from school to school, technology in general is finding itself in every aspect of education. Technology is mentioned as ubiquitous, pervasive and transparent - terms that by themselves have specific meaning, but in the context of the classroom, the context may differ. "Not all technologies foster engaging and cognitively rich information processing and networking. Technology by itself will not empower learners. Innovative pedagogy is required" (Bonk, 2009, p. 33) (EMPHASIS ADDED). We need to think differently. We need to teach differently. Technology is now an agent of change in the classroom.

Questions to think about:
  • How can a technologically rich pedagogy alter teaching and learning?
  • If pedagogy changes, does it change because of technology?
The new and emerging technologies are being used in ways never imagined. Technology becomes a living element. Technology changes as we use it. In the classroom, the varieties of technology introduce a greater range of learning possibilities. Digital resources (another technology) are created anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Instructors and students are finding new and innovative methods to use this new curriculum. Now, it is conceivable for content to be created, and used as it is created. This new form of content is shifting our conception of teaching and learning. "The combination of free and widely distributed educational resources with tools that enable learners to add to or comment on such resources or build entirely new ones begins to redefine what learning is - it becomes production or participation, not consumption and absorption" (Bonk, 2009, p. 42) (EMPHASIS ADDED). The dynamic nature of content requires a dynamic and fluid pedagogy.

The traditional classroom is changing. The learning space becomes dynamic, and may include any space, whether physical or virtual, where learners gather and where learning occurs. Technology becomes a primary contributor to this shift. Through technology (whether email, chat, or any number of social network platforms) time and space become blurred. "Ideas of one learner or instructor may be shared with anyone anywhere on this planet and at any time. As this occurs, educational information and resources will no longer be local but global" (Bonk, 2009, p. 44) (EMPHASIS ADDED). Learning is NOT restricted to a physical classroom, curriculum is as current as any media that is created or being created.

"While learning is being opened up to masses of people that previously did not have access, it is also opening up in new forms to those who already did. Learners of all ages are increasingly engaged in formal as well as informal learning, which is highly mobile and often ubiquitous" (Bonk, 2009, p. 49).

Questions to think about:
  • How does mobile technology create mobile learners?
  • Can structured learning be mobile as well?
Through technology we find ourselves lifelong learners.Whether structured or unstructured, technology provides us a common means of connection and communication. We connect and communicate in this world as mobile, nomadic and dynamic learners. The time and place to learn is now limitless. Technology becomes our transportation to learning and through learning.

Questions to think about:
  • Can technology be an effective agent for change in education?
  • What does change in education require from technology?

Bonk, C. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Follow the discussion on Twitter with #worldopen tag

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Technology, Teaching and Learning

  • Technology is a medium for teaching and learning.
  • The medium is fluid and dynamic.
  • Technology can be used to present curricular content using multi-media.
  • Technology can create an environment for all types of learners.
  • Technology should be transparent in teaching and learning.
  • To prepare for the 21st Century, technology should be pervasive in classroom and out-of-classroom opportunities for teaching and learning.
  • Technology should be available for use of all students who choose to employ technology.
  • Teaching with technology presents a multitude of strategies for use.
  • Technology can empower.
  • Technology can enrich learning, teaching, the learner and the teacher.
  • Technology can bring together ideas and peoples.
  • Technology can create, develop, maintain and challenge communities of learners and teachers.
  • Technology can extend knowledge, create new knowledge, and communicate knowledge.
  • Technology provides immediate connections.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Teaching 2.0 and beyond: New pedagogical characteristics

Teaching 2.0 and beyond
  • Uses curricular content in instructional context, builds on relevance of curriculum to life and relationship of life to curriculum
  • Focuses on relevant change or growth or reflection where evaluation is process driven, rather than product focused
  • Focuses on collaboration, networking and sharing for short term, midterm and long term
  • Focuses on information retrieval, information relevance and knowledge construction
  • Focuses on creation of new content, in new media, for new purposes
  • Is a professional or personal learning community (PLC) or network (PLN)
  • Is an environment that is immersive, participatory, social and collaborative
  • Blurs and blends the classroom space (virtual and bricks and mortar), roles and expectations
  • Is mobile, portable and not impacted by time, space and location
  • Recognizes and acknowledges that technology is becoming integrated into all aspects of life, truly ubiquitous, pervasive, transparent and mobile

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Effective Teaching

Effective teaching is:
  • being prepared, and being flexible - knowing the curriculum, knowing the students and able to adapt and adopt the lesson as necessary. Technology can help organize the curriculum. Technology, specifically media, can provide a greater range of flexibility and possibilities.
  • focused on learning - creates an environment that celebrates learning as the process and not only the product. Through integrated technology, the focus can be on learning and the learners. Providing technology to address specific needs.
  • based on how students learn - responding to the unique perspectives and styles of the learner. Learning can be supplemented through a careful and deliberate use of technology.
  • student-centered - students are the focus for learning. The ubiquitous and pervasive presence of technology in the hands of students can reshape learning, and shift the focus from teaching to learning.
  • authentic - relevant, integrated experiences where knowledge is applied. Learning, as well as teaching, focuses on application, integration, and construction of new knowledge to new situations.
  • improving -creating change, whether permanent or transitional. Both teaching and learning address change in the individual, change in knowledge, skills, abilities, and so much more.
  • learning - a process, a continuum, a cycle. Through teaching, people learn. Through learning, people are taught.
  • creating opportunities - never ending, life long. Teaching should never be a means to an end. Teaching is change, is adaptation and more.
  • social change - empowering the learner. Teaching enriches the human spirit and empowers the learner and the teacher.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Professional Development: An Evolving Definition

Professional development ...
  • is a way to meet colleagues with similar interests,
  • is focused on developing teaching abilities and interests,
  • provides immediate solutions to immediate problems,
  • answers questions by making me think,
  • improves my critical thinking skills,
  • makes me more reflective about my teaching and student learning,
  • is continual throughout the academic year,
  • is structured,
  • may be unstructured,
  • may be cohort-based,
  • may be small-group,
  • acknowledges what I know,
  • helps me identify what I need to know,
  • provides content knowledge and skills,
  • enables me to grow professionally,
  • models best practices,
  • increases my awareness of new and emerging technologies,
  • engages me in the process of professional development,
  • integrates technology,
  • is social,
  • is collaborative,
  • is transparent,
  • is relevant and is focused on topics for today's teaching and learning,
  • can be flexible and presented in different modalities and with different medium and media,
  • is current and updated,
  • is fun and exciting,
  • creates a sense of wonder in me as a participant and learner,
  • helps me learn,
  • provides me with appropriate resources for future success,
  • and continues to evolve.
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