Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back at 2009

The top 3 things that, in my opinion, shaped or reshaped the teaching and learning landscape in 2009:
  • Twitter - This transformed the way questions are asked and answers are given. Immediate responses. Developing a network increases the knowledge base. A truly dynamic application, cross platform, cross browser.
  • Collaboration - Realizing the power of collaboration, more shared workspaces are emerging. Immediate collaboration, immediate content creation.
  • Netbooks - Not laptops, not notebooks, but NETBOOKS. Small, powerful devices that could become even more important in the future. Economical, portable.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Times, they are changing

“Things do not change; we change.” – Henry David Thoreau
Professional development today is ever-changing. The fluid, multimedia environment for teaching and learning TODAY requires new(er) technologies. We have evolved, we have changed, and we have adapted – and we continue to change. Change is a necessity. The faculty here today, like those who have come before, teach differently. Technology has been a catalyst for the changes in teaching pedagogy and strategies. One of our goals is to help them achieve their dreams and in turn the goals of their students.

New perspectives are fostered through change, through innovation. As our students change, so must we also change. Professional development is changing also. Providing focused technological workshops on Web 2.0 tools, Twitter, Delicious, Shareaholic, Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, and Films on Demand and portable MP3 players, technologically enhanced or “SMART” classrooms has introduced new and different technological tools for teaching and learning. Immediate immersion into technology has provided many participants real world examples that can be quickly replicated in their classrooms.

From Netbooks to tablet pcs, to e-book readers, to pocket high definition video cameras – the technological spectrum is changing and professional development has changed also. We evaluate new and emerging technologies for teaching and learning. Faculty have the opportunity to explore technology and pedagogy.

We know where we started. We keep one eye on the present and one eye on the future.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

Dangerous innovations

Innovation, like change, can be difficult. Innovation is never (or should never) be easy. Innovations should be uncomfortable, because they require us to think or act differently. Innovations are dangerous when they cause the larger group to change. People may be resistant to change.

Think of the first time you saw a COMPUTER. ... Now, think of the first time you saw the computer in a CLASSROOM.

"Computers in the classroom! What are they thinking? They'll never work. Who will keep them working? I don't have time to learn COMPUTERS!"

But, look at us now. We are computer literate. We are using computers - technology - to improve teaching, to facilitate learning. We keep searching for easier, more intuitive software applications to use. And, we find answers. And, more questions. And more answers.

How upset would you be if they were to take all of the computers out of the room? How upset would your students be? Could you still teach? Would they still learn?

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower - Steve Jobs

Be an  innovative leader, be an innovative educator, take a chance ... make a difference!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Teaching and Learning 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and beyond

NOTE: Had a wonderful opportunity this weekend. Spent time in a good "conversation" with part of my Twitter PLN. This posting was, and continues to be, inspired by the conversations. (Oh, and if you'd like to join in on the conversation,

Part of the "common" vocabulary we find ourselves using is something 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. I've always been curious and wonder what this distinction means. We have read articles on XXX 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.

So, I started thinking, "What was Teaching and Learning 1.0"? This is, to me, PC (pre-computers). This is the "traditional" one-room school house. This focused on mastery of CONTENT.

Teaching and Learning 2.0 is WC or WT (with computers or with technology). We find technology in more and more aspects of the classroom, of teaching and of learning. Teaching is accomplished WITH technology. Learning incorporates and integrates technology into the process. It becomes problematic to imagine teaching and learning without technology. Technology has become ubiquitous and integrated into the fabric of education. This focused on CONTENT acquisition and APPLICATION.

Between 2.0 and 3.0 (maybe Teaching and Learning 2.5?) we find content being created, categorized and shared. Applications are being created and updated with remarkable speed, making their use seamless and intuitive. Shared spaces are emerging that promote and encourage collaboration locally as well as internationally. This focused on the INTEGRATION of content.

Teaching and Learning 3.0. Here is where things begin to blur. As the technology advances, becomes smaller, more powerful the uses of technology change, morph, shift, and adapt. The presence of technology becomes a norm instead of an exception. The type of device (netbook, notebook, laptop or smart phone) becomes less and less significant - it is the presence of the device, the way in which the device is being used that makes the difference between 2.0 and 3.0. The physical spaces needed for the 2.0 and 1.0 world are now ill-defined - we can use technology almost anywhere. This focuses on the INTEGRATION, MASTERY and APPLICATION of content.

Teaching and Learning 3.5. Smaller devices promote truly lifelong learning. Media, digital media, is available anytime. Checking the accuracy of information is not limited to the sources available, but to the search engines depth and breadth. Technological advances continue to extend our thinking to new frontiers. What's the next device? I'm not quite sure. But, I believe, that as we have responded to the changes and advances in technology, we are slowly shifting from technology as a separate and distinct element of teaching and learning - there is a connection between teaching, learning and technology that will push contemporary notions of learning and teaching.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Memorable events in personal and professional development for Fall 2009

  1. Still amazed at the power and reach of Twitter. I've used Twitter as part of my personal professional development.
  2. The ability to use delicious to help aggregate and share digital resources is understated. I've been using TAGS to help me find and share a group of URLs.
  3. The netbook is fast becoming one of the more portable, powerful, ubiquitous and transparent devices.
  4. Google Docs is becoming an easy way to share documents, presentations, spreadsheets and other documents. I can share a URL, and when the document is updated it is available to all with the URL.
  5. Google Reader. I've subscribed to blogs, and Google Reader lets me find, search and share interesting things.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best Book to Read

I was asked for the "best" book on teaching. "Book. What is the BEST book on teaching? "

"Talk to someone. They're the best book."

"What? No book?"

"Read a book if you'd like, but it's more important to talk with teachers. Ask them questions. Have them tell you a story. That's the best book on teaching."

A book to read, and reread, and implement

As you can tell by looking at the tabs and notes I've added to this book, it is one that I use often. Covering a broad range of topics, Bates and Poole provide a framework for integration. This book discusses general principles that could easily be adapted by anyone and adopted for any classroom.

I have used this for professional development workshops, discussions on interaction and interactivity, the role of media, the importance of technology, classroom technology and  many others.

Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundations for success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The Role of Brookfield's Four Lenses

Just got through looking at my blog statistics from the past month. The key word segment is listed. I am continually amazed at how Brookfield keeps trending.

While Brookfield's books are not recent, they do remind us of some of the core beliefs for teaching. Is this trend for Brookfield indicative of a desire to focus, or refocus, teaching on core beliefs or principles?

Does this indicate also a need to integrate the four lenses in the contemporary, techno-centric, learner-focused classroom?

I'll look at this trend. Brookfield is always interesting and appropriate for all classrooms. Makes one stop and wonder.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Over the horizon

What lies over the horizon for teaching and learning? How will the learning space differ? I believe that the technologies we have NOW will quickly become obsolete. I’ve seen the size and weight of laptops keep getting smaller and smaller. Now, the term is “netbook” and not laptop. These small devices let me connect to the world anywhere, anytime, and any place (provided signal strength is available). They are dropping in price. They are becoming as powerful as a desktop workstation. How will this change the landscape of learning? I believe it will become less space specific, and truly occur anywhere – inside or outside.

Telephones, or smart phones, are quickly becoming the next mini-computer. I can surf the web, download applications, check email, compose email, take pictures (and videos), share them. The always on, always connected world of the smart phone has the greatest potential to shrink our world. I can reach out to a large group IMMEDIATELY. And, the group is now EVERYWHERE in the world. The world, this community is getting more connected.

Collaboration. People realize that there is more power in the group than the individual. Being able to ask questions and confirm my ideas or present me with new ideas is powerful. I am amazed at the speed of asking questions and receiving answers – sometimes a multitude of answers – from my colleagues.

The PLN (Professional Learning Network) is, in my opinion, the most dynamic part of the horizon. Using many social media tools (Twitter and Ning, as examples) I am able to learn and grow as a professional. The members of my PLN are colleagues and collaborators who share the passion of education – for students of all ages, and all educational venues.

Regardless of the technologies that may come and go (as many do) there are, or will be, at least two constants: first, innovation is key and critical to everything; and second, collaboration is a necessary part of advancing knowledge.

We will continue to find new and different ways to use existing materials. We will continue to demand easier and more intuitive programs and applications. We want it now, and we don’t have a lot of time to invest in learning intricacies or the subtle nuances. We will continue to expand and explore teaching and learning strategies. The desire for knowledge will fuel our drive to create, assemble, deconstruct and reconstruct knowledge.

We know that there is power in the group, in the collective, in the community. Whether our community is small or large, local or international, we are driven to connect with others.

What’s over the horizon? Depends on where you are standing. What do YOU see?

Monday, December 07, 2009

My 2009 Reading List

  • Baxter Magolda, M. (2004). Making their own way: Narratives for transforming higher education to promote self-development. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
  • Berkun, S. (2007). The myths of innovation. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
  • Bonk, C. (2009). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Brown, J., & Duguid, P. (2002). The social life of information. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • DeBono, E. (1999). Six thinking hats. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.
  • Gardner, H. (2006). Changing minds: The art and science of changing our own and other people’s minds. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Gardner, H. (2006). Five minds for the future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: We need you to lead us. New York, NY: Portfolio.
  • Healy, J. (1998). Failure to connect: How computers affect our children’s minds – for better and worse. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
  • Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Jarvis, J. (2009). What would google do? New York, NY: Collins Business.
  • Li, C., & Bernoff, J. (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Penenberg, A. (2009). Viral loop: From facebook to twitter, how today’s smartest businesses grow themselves. New York, NY: Hyperion.
  • Penn, J. (2007). Microtrends: The small forces behind tomorrow’s big changes. New York, NY: Twelve.
  • Roam, D. (2008). The back of the napkin: Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. New York, NY: Penguin.
  • Rosenberg, S. (2009). Say everything: How blogging began, what it’s becoming, and why it matters. New York, NY: Crown.
  • Sawyer, K. (2007). Group genius: The creative power of collaboration. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organization. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.
  • Stross, R. (2008). Planet google: One company’s audacious plan to organize everything we know. New York, NY: Free Press.
  • Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital: How the net generation is changing your world. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
  • Tapscott, D., & Williams, D. (2008). Wikinomics: How mass collaboration changes everything. New York, NY: Penguin.
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