Light Offerings

Archive for March, 2012

This week’s light offerings

Posted by jturner56 on March 31, 2012

“the instantaneous, feedback-driven, open world. Will there be a place for those other, slower thoughts, ideas that take time and quiet to flower, truths that cannot be crowdsourced?” Anand Giridharadas

In reading Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist I was struck by how these people through endeavor and practical effort changed the way people thought. In particular I was taken by Marcel Proust’s insight into the unreliability of formed memories.

Which links to Kim Cofino’s positive and open Tokyo TED Talk: Mobile, Connected, Collaborative which highlights changes to learning going on in today’s digitally-connected world. I look forward to discussing with Kim the value, and the wider ramifications of school responsibilities for quiet, purposeful and deep learning.

Which brings me to my weekly readings, which included

What picture do we see just in the titles?

What I learnt

We need to use the vast knowledge resources at our disposal to

  • support and advance critical, objective thinking; the alternative being scant justifications of narrow philosophies. Tendencies to overstate also limits us all. We need to measure by our effect on those around us, and beyond the personal.
  • focus on practical changes that do justice to what is realistic (with the right dose of hope). Inevitability arguments breed hostility and division.
  • not be carried away by form over content, or ‘tech as solution’, when targeting the complex, culturally diverse institution that is school. Too often ‘solutions’ treat effects on learning / school deficiencies / educational politics as one problem. Attacking teachers seems too often to be a de rigueur part of this.

While agreeing that learning has no limits, together, we should be building schools that do us proud, not denigrate.

What to do

Reading and writing should influence not only what you are, but also what you do (I’m Deweyan is this respect).
So I hope I can use this as I

  • work with teachers looking for practical expressions that advance their own and our collective commitment to quality learning.
  • present a proposal to extend the school’s support for student ePortfolios in line with our vision to use digital technologies to enable opportunities for Greater Active Student Learning that is valued, visible, connected and progressive.
  • extend the discussion on where next for our school as it further develops it’s curriculum offerings

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What says you?

Posted by jturner56 on March 28, 2012

Having just finished a learning technologies plan with my school, I stop to ponder it’s worth.

The issue of it’s value relates to it’s focus: seeking balance between school system limits and the potential of digital technologies to support, extend and enhance learning now and into the future.

The vision – that digital technologies enable opportunities for Greater Active Student Learning that is valued, visible, connected and progressive – reflects a belief that students have much more to offer and gain as learners, and that schools can use digital technologies to achieve this.

Fundamental questions that will affect the extent that such a vision can be realised include:

  • what learning is valued, and in what ways?
  • what educational philosophies will take precedence?
  • to what extent school limitations will intrude?
  • whether constant changing technologies will be assimilated, accommodated or lead to rethinking?
  • can school change fast enough and in right ways to embrace new dynamics?
  • how do the technology limits of school impact on new dynamics such as cloud connections?
  • what leadership can schools provide as issues of knowledge, truth and trust undergo upheavals?

Options and Scenarios abound. Will be see

  • schools continue to muddle along in reactive, sometimes defensive ways
  • calls for reform from countless different philosophies and agendas either muddying the education milieu or damaging any realistic progress
  • change at the centre of school learning – to the core of teacher knowledge and management, standardised over-crowded curriculums, disconnected assessments, and egg-create structures
  • new balances where the social value of school as a community is upheld, while increased value is attributed to what individual learners bring to the environment and can achieve as they create their and our future together?

My vision favours the third.

As we proceed I look forward to sharing practical examples of this.

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A return to blogging

Posted by jturner56 on March 26, 2012

I write this post as someone who is returning to personal blogging after a considerable hiatus.
Why?

  1. To be able to update my personal window in a form I work with (see http://jturner56.wikispaces.com/)
  2. To link professional blogging with my personal world view (see http://ltt.cdnis.edu.hk/)
  3. To try and put forward, share, and reflect on my teaching and learning ideas (which previously would be more an academic offering)

I know the Internet is full of CRAP (Communications Righteously Advancing Personal views only) and I don’t want to add to this. So this blog will try to focus on finding the balance needed for today’s school to meet competing and at times conflicting demands in fast changing and politically charged times.

Why blog then

  • because whatever is published is out-there anyway and thinking should reflect this
  • if I’m calling on my students and fellow teachers to extend their thinking, writing and discussions into digital domains I need to support this
  • to quote Joseph Heller “Every writer I know has trouble writing”. One can but try.

My starting point, and bedrock; as should be the case for any educator, is the basis for my ideas and thinking – my learning philosophy

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