Wednesday, July 17, 2013

W2 - Arena of Change Mindmap

I think that the answer to our technological woes in education lie far beyond how to effectively use a blog or an LMS or start a wiki. Of course, these tools are important and can be used in wonderful ways in the classroom. However, I feel that teachers are spending too much time talking about HOW to use these tools in the classroom that we don’t stop to think WHY we are using them, or what bigger skills they are helping our students gain. Chances are that when my year 9 students leave school in year 13, the programs I used with them will be long forgotten; but the skills they gain (especially the more abstract abilities they may have practiced), will last far beyond that course. I am talking about the ability to learn independently, to think creatively, and to problem solve. We know how crucial these skills are, and yet they are sometimes difficult to teach and to measure.
Technology is a part of our society, and I believe that it is not about helping our students “cope” with the rate that these technologies evolve, but about giving them the power to take control and utilize these technologies in ways that we may not even be able to imagine now. If “the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible,” than we need to give our students the foresight to do so (A.Clarke).
My research will be based on exactly HOW problem solving, creativity, and independent learning have been successfully combined with use of technology and implemented into classrooms with a focus on how these skills can be utilised to navigate evolving technologies.

The phrase “the big picture” keeps coming up as I brainstorm about the ecology surrounding this topic.
The students need to understand that when they are using a technology in the classroom (as in any other activity) that they are using it for a bigger purpose, and not just for the sake of using the technology alone.
The teachers need to feel that they are not being asked to teach with technology for technology’s sake, but that these tools can be used to cultivate creativity, problem solving, and independent learning.
The school administration and board of trustees needs to look at the best use of their time, money and resources in regards to technology with a bigger picture in mind. Just because a school is offered a good deal on a new technology, for example, does not mean that this will benefit the students.
At the professional level, the organisations offering PD in particular should be communicating with schools in regards to technology so that they can offer support in the best areas, not just the latest fads.

At the political level, there also needs to be more communication (perhaps via technology, as Pinelopi Zaka suggested) so that the people with the most power in regards to funding and driving national education initiatives are the most well-informed from all perspectives.

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