Friday, September 28, 2007

The Future

I am not certain, any more than the next person, what the future holds for us (that would make life not fun at all!). Nonetheless, I am confident that technology will continue its march into the fiber of our lives and that includes education. I've been fascinated with the desire of educators to outlaw student owned (phones, et. al.) technology in the classroom. What makes that fascinating is that if teachers would use the mobile phone technology as a part of the learning process, students wouldn't use them to be a distraction, but a tool. Texting becomes another way for students to build meaning as they "chat" with each other. Sending text, pictures, etc. back and forth only adds to the learning process, not distracts. Think of it in terms of "passing notes." The only time students pass notes in class is when the class is boring or lacks meaning. When students are engaged in the learning process, all communication is about building meaning aand thus learning. Technology adds value to this process. And, like it or not, we are going there!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Changing the paradigm...

We talk a lot about "changing the paradigm." From the American Standard dictionary, there are a couple of the meanings that fit here:
par·a·digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm') Pronunciation Key n.
1. One that serves as a pattern or model.
2. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
It is in this second definition that we must confront the issue of paradigm within education. "Assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes ~ a way of viewing reality ~" There we are, stuck with our "view of reality", and, if our view of reality doesn't currently include cutting edge technology, or at least the comfort level of new technology, the we are "stuck." And, in education, the students' view of current reality is typically quite different than the view of the teachers or professors.
So, to change the paradigm we need to consider definition #1, we need to build new patterns by buiding new models of teaching and learning using technology.