Light Offerings

Archive for October, 2012

Surfing the digital light fantastic in education

Posted by jturner56 on October 30, 2012

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Learning Technologies in Schools through an educational research lens

Posted by jturner56 on October 26, 2012

As we approach Evidence month in looking at the effectiveness of our use of learning technologies it is convenient to consider what educational research has to offer to our perspective.

Two publications I recently came across, Educational Technology Research that makes a difference, and Improving student engagement, I think, offer interesting insights.

What they say is that

  1. “technology changes so quickly that it is difficult to build a body of findings over time”, leading to a lack of an “organised and persuasive body of evidence on technology’s benefits to classroom practice”
  2. In addition to the importance of respectful relationships and interactions, classroom practices that utilise inquiry-based, problem-based and exploratory approaches, and relevancy to real-life scenarios, multimedia and technology can assist learning to move beyond the classroom’s four walls.
  3. Further to this, constructivist pedagogies will be more fruitful that didactic approaches, even if “uncomfortable for some educators.”
  4. Finally, new literacy and skill demands require consideration of digital information literacy being infused into core content and processes.

I would add just a couple of riders from personal observation and reading

  • the change from industrial education, built on teachers passing on their specialist knowledge to their students, to a digital age where some student digital expertise will be more adept than their teacher’s, and with information/knowledge a click away in many cases, thus requiring more flattened approaches to classroom learning.
  • this in turn requires more connected and collaborative approaches, in line with workplace changes
  • and finally digital technologies can facilitate more personalised learning opportunities to cater for the diversity unrecognised in industrial models
  • which ultimately means a greater importance on social learning

In a nutshell then, as we consider learning technologies at our disposal, we need to be driven by our student learning intentions, seeking new ways to make this happen, support shortfalls in whatever ways are at our disposal, and be clear and honest in what we seek to achieve, where we are on our journey, and what our next steps will be (and why).

This needs to be considered across three levels, student learning, teacher teaching and school direction. This has always been so, with willpower the overriding determinant.

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Social Media in Schools

Posted by jturner56 on October 22, 2012

Been awhile. School can chew time like few other places. But it is always important to take time to sit and think whenever possible. In this vein last week we managed some time contemplating what Social Media meant to our school and it’s leaders. Working with Peter Sutton at KaiMing Consultants all our senior administrators considered that school’s position, needs to move forward, and issues relating.

From my perspective there were three offerings arising

  1. that a school’s social media considerations are at least as important as it’s traditional web offerings.
  2. the importance of social media as a dynamic set of interactions requires senior administration oversight and leadership.
  3. Social Media as a window into and beyond a school impacts on the complex interactions between parents (portals, personal data and value added), students (individual identity, diversity of experiences and expectations), teachers (see students), curriculum (learning value added and evaluated) and school leaders (communication protocols, efficiency and effectiveness of structures and empowerment/response handling)

It all this the level of school positiveness and honesty remains its strongest bulwark.

As I read Brian Dixon’s Social Media for School Leaders (2012) and it’s 16 of consideration…

eNewsletters Ning YouTube School Web Site
 FaceBook Email  ePortfolios  OnLine Surveys
 Twitter  Google+  Online Presence  Classroom Portals
 LinkedIn  Mobile Devices  Internet Safety  School Leaders Blog

 

… I realized that for a school to move forward professionally with social media it needs to

  • include pd structures for school decision-makers, that feeds into
  • treating social media at a level commensurate with curriculum, parent management and IT integration, and that
  • this needed whole school consideration in fast-changing times

Just like the introduction of computers and the Internet, will this be treated as yet another technology ‘add-on’, or considered as part of the need for whole school evolution?

PS.. interesting that Dixon’s book includes some things not under consideration at our school and neglects others. A sign of the complex interplay between social media and particular school environments with fast-developing mediums.

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