Light Offerings

Archive for August, 2012

What educational researchers are saying about digital learning

Posted by jturner56 on August 27, 2012

As part of my summer readings I came across the EduSummIT11 report (
 which reported on the “role of ICT in 21st century learning.” Interesting insights spread across eight papers, which included the following:

  1. calsl for radical restructuring of school
  2. digtechs have change the way students socialize, communicate and learn
  3. drivers for progress = capacity building, group work, instruction, systemic solutions
  4. there is a need to recognize the increasing importance of informal education
  5. a key is to give more control to students and empower them as decision-makers
  6. obstacles to effective teacher development include lack of consistent, relevant vision, poor match between provision and needs, exclusion of significant voices, misalignment between policy statements, institutionalized cultures, and failure to successfully harmonize context, policy, practice and research
  7. Digital Literacy is increasingly recognized as critical for participation in a technology and knowledge-based global society. It should be embedded with and across the other 21stC skills and core subjects
  8. digital tools and collaborative environments have enhanced learning from emphasis on reproducing to content creation and sharing
  9. ICT applications such as Web 2.0 tools, multi-user virtual environments, and augmented reality can contribute to development of ‘21stC Skills’
  10. new technologies have changed the representation and codifying of knowledge and how this relates to learner’s mental models
  11. ICT provides new knowledge representations that are dynamic and unstable as technologies evolve
  12. rapid growth and change in technologies leave teachers and learners struggling to keep up with functionality and educational potential.

These insights are being used to support ideas and initiatives as we implement our Digital Learning Infusion.


Posted in Light Offering | Leave a Comment »

Digital Technologies in schools > Skeptic, Believer or …..

Posted by jturner56 on August 17, 2012

Response to Larry Cuban’s blog post (

FAQs for a Skeptic on Technology


As someone who has followed your contribution since I started teaching in the mid-80s I appreciate once again the succinctness of your communication. I must confess to being a ‘believer’ ever since as a mid-80s Mathematics teacher I observed profound differences in engagement and learning not only in my learning, and student learning when digital technologies are used in constructive ways.

I have spent my career seeking to understand and utilize such power. This has included engaging with ‘Luddites’ (who weren’t against technology per se, but rather how it affected their lives), and being willing to risk (which is part of the curriculum requirement that I work within). What has always concerned me is skeptical views that attack short comings in an imperfect world, without appreciation of complexity, diversity or realism. In this I am just as concerned with school  school system administrators, and technology advocates (be they commercial or bureaucratic) for the same reasons. We can get a bit tied up with bureaucratic shortcomings and miss the opportunities and challenges that technological change provides.

Schooling and education are debatable ever since at least the times of Socrates. A good future lies not in blame, but in contribution. I agree maybe we are not as advanced over the past quarter decade as some would have hoped or contended, but change is much more part of the school dynamic and it is up to educators to make sense and add social value in what is a complex milieu. Harkening back as justification of learning value limits the 360 degree view needed.

Perhaps like climate change the game is changing while we as frogs boil. I see the fundamental difference between the skeptical view and the believer view of computers in education as akin to a late 19thC view that an engine would ever be able to make a car fly. Many were working to show this was a limited, often unsuccessful, view. I see the role of educators as supporting such opportunity creation.

Once again, appreciate the chance to think about areas of common interest.

Posted in Light Offering | Leave a Comment »

Back for a New School Year

Posted by jturner56 on August 13, 2012

After a nearly two month hiatus it is back for a new school year. There is always something uplifting being able to take stock and face new opportunities to build, connect and share.

Over the gap I had the opportunity to attend the ISTE Annual Conference in San Diego and catch-up with some reading. What I found firstly was that the work we did last school year on setting a vision for Digital Learning Infusion (DLI) is a good start, but only a start.

Areas for construction this year will include

  • understanding the difference and implication of Digital Learning compared to Digital Literacy and their relevance to School. Included in this measurement for curriculum progression.
  • In a practical sense this will include using the IB’s Role of ICT in PYP and MYP Design curriculum. We are also looking forward to doing more with the IB’s Approaches to Learning and Learner profile.
  • with students we will be building on our Digital Ambassador‘s program and iFolios for each Middle School student.
  • embedding Teacher Digital Learning structures in support of Digital Learning/Literacy and curriculum needs. This will build on the SUNY Masters Course that is already yielding CDNISu and other framework components.
  • using Evidence Loops to share learning, take risks and connect ideas.

Remembering Albert Einstein who said “if you have never made a mistake before then you haven’t done anything new.”

Looking forward to a great year and would appreciate any and all feedback and discourse

Posted in Light Offering | Leave a Comment »