Saturday, February 21, 2009

Adopting and adapting

I read Marc's article with interest as he mentions that one to one computing schools are the way to go and next year I will be at a one to one school. This has made me feel that my students and I had better be using our computers in a meaningful way to extend learning and I'm still working on figuring out what that is going to look like. I guess I will need to consult my students and use them as my teachers since they are the digital natives and I'm the nomad in the technology arena. I realize I'm still at that stage, like when you are learning a language and you still translate everything back into English (in my case) to understand and I'm aiming towards understanding in the language of study. To be a little more clear, what I'm saying is now I learn about a technology tool and think how can I use that in class versus seeing technology tools as an integral part of learning and not something that is just added in. Does that make any sense?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Apple Saturday

I spent my Saturday at the Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok attending the Apple Think Ahead Roadshow.  We were invited to learn about some Mac tools that could be used in the classroom.  If one of the purposes of the day was to get us to covet the ipod touch then Apple had a good marketing strategy. Thank god the touch wasn't on sale at the hotel or I think I would now be the proud owner of one. 24 hours later, I covet the touch still but it no longer seems like a necessity. Adrian Lim, one of the hosts, told us a story of how just a regular guy developed an application that would allow you to turn your touch into a flute. Apparently the guy became a millionaire by selling the application on line for $1  a download. We also learned that the most recent iphoto application has face recognition abilities do if you type in the name of a loved one every photo of that person will be pulled up from your library. Next, if you have a digital camera with a built in GPS- I bet you didn't know that newer cameras have this feature- iphoto will be able to sort your photos by location. Nifty or unnecessary?

I didn't read my agenda very carefully because it wasn't until I was nearly at the hotel that I realized that Kim was one of the presenters. She did a great job! We learned how to use Garage Band to put together a podcast. In the morning session we learned how to combine still images and video clips to make a short (2 minute) movie using imovie.

We were treated to a delicious lunch. Apple is holding a three day workshop in Hong Kong in April. The workshop is free you just need to get yourself to Hong Kong. I want to go.

My original plan was to stay for the morning and leave before lunch. I'm glad I stayed for the whole day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Connectivism the new constructivism?

I understand that the students we teach today may have jobs that have not even been invented yet and they they will probably change careers several times in their lifetime and that as educators we need to provide them with the tools to be successful in jobs that may be beyond our imagination. 

However, what if the future looks more like "Soylent Green" and less like "2001 A Space Odyssey"? 

I think about Indigenous people in various parts of the world who have incredible knowledge of the natural world and how that knowledge is passed down from generation to generation-the old fashion social learning network.

I think about the 'useless bits of information' that I had to learn in college a quarter century ago that I can still pull out of my head and that on occasion do serve me well.

I was reading Chrissy's blog about putting all her eggs in one technology basket and wonder what WOULD happen if the world had to be internet free for a day or a week or a lot longer? 

I guess since I entered adulthood in a pre- internet world I would attest that learning can and does take place off line and maybe, I would argue, in a more visceral way. I will never forget the first time that I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. It had to be at least 20 years ago and I remember waiting on line to see it and being surprised at how small it was and being distracted because the painting was under glass and there was glare on the glass. It was summer and there were a lot of tourists and I remember looking at the other people who were sharing this experience with me. Is this just me sharing a memory or is this an example of me constructing my own knowledge? Was this a pre-web 2.0 social network?

I'm trying hard to be open minded and excited about using social networking as a positive and powerful tool to help students construct or if you insist connect to form knowledge. I do see the power of making sense of new information with others- I have read several of my colleagues blogs on this article-thanks Harvey, Vu, Teresa to name a few. This has helped me in my thinking about the reading so I guess there is something to be said about connectivism.

I would just hate to think that those who do have the opportunity to see the Mona Lisa face to face would choose not to because it would be easier to do a google search and pull up an image. 

World without walls...

This article provided me with a lot to think about. Some quotes that resonated for me are ;"We must find our own teachers, and they must find us".  " We need to think of ourselves as connectors first and content experts second". I guess I'm trying to figure out how to be an effective connector."More than learning content, the emphasis is on using social networking tools to teach global collaboration and communication, allowing students to create their own networks in the process". I hope that if we are communicating with people from around the world then we will think more about global issues as being our issues. 

However, what I find disconcerting is that if you think about the number of people NOT connected through social networking,if the world were a village of 100 people only 1 would have a computer, then does this method of educating ourselves and our students continue to exclude the majority of the world's inhabitants? 

I agree that in our current world  thinking critically, being skillful at sifting though all the info out there to focus on the 'good stuff' is essential. After all content is just a google search away. I guess I can accept that since it's not humanly possible to sift through all the info on the web  alone we need to rely on our social network to help with this herculean task. We need to be discerning about who our social network consists of, another herculean task. 

 I'm pleased to see the human elements of nurturing relationships, negotiation, communication, planning and healthy balance between screen time and face to face time are considered essential.

Why AM I taking this class??

I'm not taking this class for credit. I'm not taking this class because I am a techie or plan to become one soon. I'm taking this class because when I read articles like Engage Me or Enrage Me I realize that I have a lot to learn in order to catch up (is it possible?) and then keep up (impossible?) with  technology that  is changing my life in the classroom and outside of the classroom.