Pedagogical ideas like student centered learning, collaboration, and critical thinking have been around for a long time and are slowly making the way into the classroom. When technology came into play in schools, there was a big focus on technology tools and acquiring tech skills. Nowadays, there is a perception that technology has to be seamless and the main focus is on pedagogy. I couldn’t agree more. But is that happening because technology is actually shoving pedagogy to the center stage? If yes, what are the implications for teacher professional development in the age of fast technological changes?
Organizations like the Gates Foundation have made a practice of throwing money behind marketing filled with abstract teacher-friendly language that comes with a metrics-obsessed shadow self that blames these teachers for the “failures” of students. Long before they sit down for their first multiple-choice exam, these students have been failed by an economic structure that couldn’t care less about their well-being. Evan Stone and Sydney Morris, the founders of Educators 4 Excellence, signed onto the Gates Foundation’s agenda in exchange for funding.
Technology has the unique ability to both create community and break it at the same time. I’ve continued to have many of these conversations as we try to understand the impact of the internet on our children, education and our own minds. From The Shallows to Now You See It, to The Cult of the Amatuer, The Dumbest Generation and of late The Circles. I’ve read all of these except for The Circles. They all make reasonable intelligent arguments. They all point out we have to be careful.
George Couros says:“Kids don’t have enough balance.”
“We are dumber because of technology.”
“People are disconnected from one another because of how we use technology.”
“Technology kills our face-to-face interactions.”
In my travels, I have heard all of these arguments.…You will hear people say things like “Twitter is stupid.” Just to clarify, Twitter is a thing and can’t be stupid.
I would bet money that YouTube is one of my students most used websites. Whether they are at lunch break or waiting for their parents to pick them up, they care constantly watching music videos, laughing at the newest YouTube sensation, or just browsing for news.As an educator, I think it is important to harness their interest and knowledge of the website within the classroom. YouTube provides some incredible opportunities for learning, in more inventive and creative ways than just watching a video. As I began to make a mental list of the possibilities, I realized that it was time to make a chart
Teaching With YouTube: 197 Digital Channels For Learning
If you don’t have a YouTube channel as an education provider, there’s a good chance you’re behind the times. Nearly every major educational institution in the world now hosts its own collection of videos featuring news, lectures, tutorials, and open courseware. Just as many individuals have their own channel, curating their expertise in a series of broadcasted lessons.
Just down the hall from Paulo Blikstein’s office at Stanford University is a student laboratory of the future. It has spring green-and-yellow tiled floors, matching walls and is stocked with every type of digital fabrication tool one can imagine: laser cutters, 3D printers, 3D scanners, 3D milling machines, robotics, and programming tools. “In short, we have machines that can shape objects and electronics to make those objects behave,” says Blikstein, director of the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Stanford University.
MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld originally envisioned Fab Labs as small-scale digital workshops accessible to all. Blikstein adapted the concept specifically for junior high and high schools. His FabLabs@School are spaces where students work on long-term, creative projects, using their imaginations to bridge the gap between their ideas and the tools and training necessary to bring them to fruition. Since 2009, Blikstein and his colleagues have opened five experimental FabLabs@School: one in Bangkok, Thailand; one in Moscow, Russia; and three in Palo Alto. A sixth is opening soon in Melbourne, Australia, a seventh in Mexico City. As they roll out the labs, they conduct careful research on how best to deploy and make use of them in an educational setting.
Learning happens everywhere–inside a classroom, at home, in the car or on the bus, and on weekends. As students have more access to mobile and handheld devices, they have more learning opportunities.Videos are some of the best teaching tools available to teachers and students, and YouTube offers a seemingly infinite number of educational channels on varying topics.
The classroom is merely a vessel for innovation to bloom. A teleport from fundamentals to deeper levels of thought. My inspiration came from glossy photos of the newest startups with their converted lofts and warehouses — giant spaces organically separated with couches and wooden tables for intimate groups of thinkers to spread out, collaborate, and develop. My first encounter with creative spaces was a magazine article showcasing the offices of Google. The design was fresh, brave, and inspiring. I began to notice other companies using similar frameworks — each different according to their purpose. These startups not only introduce products and concepts that harness novel thinking, but their work environment itself embraces invention.
Learning to create, manage and promote a professional learning network PLN will soon become, if it’s not already, one of the most necessary and sought after skills for a global citizen, and as such, must become a prominent feature of any school curriculum.Few progressive educationalists would argue that a personal learning network PLN is not incredibly valuable and important. Passionate advocates including Murray, Whitby, and Sheninger lead with clarity in such discussions. The wealth of professional development that stems from such a network is quickly defining it as an essential tool for teachers, and will, I believe, replace organised costly professional development undertaken by organisations.