Light Offerings

Archive for September, 2012

Response to Larry Cuban blog “As Teacher Use of New Technologies Has Spread, Have Most Teachers Changed How They Teach?”

Posted by jturner56 on September 23, 2012

Below is my response to Larry Cuban’s blog “As Teacher Use of New Technologies Has Spread, Have Most Teachers Changed How They Teach?

As always thank you for coherently putting forward arguments relating to the effect of educational technologies on schools.
Let me first concur with things you raised
(1) more and more teachers are using new technologies in lessons
(2) “there is no one best way of teaching and learning”
(3) cringing at the word “revolutionize” (what power shift are we talking about when we call for a revolution?)
(4) “unacknowledged bias” is always a problem at all level (including in universities)
However I must take issue with your general argument and its straw man nature. As a teacher for over twenty-five year I have always been student-centered in my approach, as is every educator who is serious about the education of our young. I have also always worked within academic curriculums and see my professional duty as bringing the two together as well as I can. I have also employed learning technologies and supported teaching in finding good ways to advance their teaching (which includes considering the views of those who may have an alternative perspective – from which I have learnt and continue to learn).
Discussions are not helped by those advocating either faddist agendas, or those advocating learning, and therefore, education as a non-changing consideration. I see the basic issue as learning value, and while standardized scores dominate (which I see as too narrow for the world we live in) then the “text-book bound” perspective can be defended without having to take in alternatives. Yet teachers, as has been the case since year dot, will try to help students to look beyond the limits of traditional frameworks, and in doing so join them. Educational technologies, if used well, are an important part of this in our time (and I please guilty to being strongly influenced by Seymour Papert and his call for more active involvement by students in their learning).
Your final call to “admit publicly” is confusing. I admit publicly here that I am committed to student-centered instruction and that I am one of many who are trying to work together to ensure that personal ways of learning are supported by personal ways of teaching. We need to move beyond the argument presented here to address the question: do digital technologies affect learning, and if so in what ways and with what implications for school education? If a commitment to learning value in changing times, and in doing so willing to reflect on how best I can use these in my teaching, and to enter into the debate as it affects school education as a system is dogmatism, then I plead guilty.”



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School Education isn’t broken while innovation, risk-taking and problem-solving flourishes

Posted by jturner56 on September 17, 2012

Having read several articles that could be sub-titled, why education is broken, I hereby share four in-school experiences from this past week that show that rather than broken, school continues to be environments moving forward supporting and supported by innovation and risk:

  1. D.E.A.D. days (that is Drop Everything And Design) provided students with a whole school day to pursue Design projects that support them being efficient, effective and innovative in their use of digital technologies. As part of the formal IB MYP Design technology studies, these projects show what possible when a balanced approach to timetables includes dedicated days.
  2. Double Dayz are Teacher Learning sessions for all teachers that repeats the session so that all teachers can participate.
    Our first Double-Dayz will be:
    (1) Blended Learning
        focused on Moodle skills and pedagogy
    (2) Flipped, Flattened and Designed
        using design thinking for teachers to produce rich media learning support for project-based-learning
  3. Students setting up their iFolios as part of their MYP studies to share reflections, publish evidence of learning, and seek teacher, peer and wider audience feedback.
  4. Our annual review of our use of learning technologies is using Moodle to enable teacher input and discussion. As part of this critical friends (teacher volunteers) are providing stimulus input. By knowing what’s going on through collaborative, open sharing a better report can be provided for decision-making.

While we have ideas, commitment and a willingness to create better futures education can never be classified as broken.

Let’s continue to work on possibilities rather than get bogged down by shortcomings.

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