Light Offerings

Archive for November, 2012

What role the early digital adopters in school? A disrupted view.

Posted by jturner56 on November 26, 2012

In  Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma (see an excellent review at several points are made that can help explain how school’s should treat it’s early digital adopters

  1. Sustaining technologies vs Disruptive technologies. In business sustaining means supporting / improving a product that is established. Disruptive are “innovations that can result in worse product performance, at least in the near term” but can prevail because they are generally “cheaper, simpler, smaller and frequently more convenient to use.” In education we are not always clear as to what our ‘product’ is and therefore see in technology ‘solution’ rather than ‘improvement’. We need a deepness of thinking that is not apparent in linear grade outcomes as measures. Processes of teaching and learning need to be aligned to the Is in simpler etc model while also asking is the product produced the bnest we can expect for  a disrupted world.
  2. Large companies have an established base whom they must be accountable to, and this can limit their capacity to innovate. There is hardly a larger ‘company’ than school education as a system. Perhaps this explains in part the conservatism that has dogged technology innovation. But school’s also posses a capacity and responsibility as future providers, and on this basis an school worth it’s place.
  3. Firms need to provide experimental groups within a company a freer rein. Schools need structures to encourage, support early adopters taking on new technologies, backed up by structures to allow integration of what may start and stay as optional, or indeed become part of structural support.
  4. Firms need to be willing to leave room for failure, and should failure occur, learn from such an experience for the next opportunity. School’s need to be given the respect and freedom need to learn constructively from failure from calculated risks. To learn effectively organisations need the same support we expect students need. Leadership by example is as important at the top as on the classroom floor.

To move beyond individual choice schools need clear learning objectives as part of curriculum intent on which to hang new technologies across several levels, from risk taking to primary evaluation, to team exploration, to system acceptance. Such considerations will become natural within any powerful learning organisation. Early adopters can help chart the course just as the early explorers did so many years ago.


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Two types of digital literacies? A reflection

Posted by jturner56 on November 14, 2012

Response to Clive Young’s 16 May blog post Two types of digital literacies? which reported on a JISC workshop on digital literacies.

“Clive. Thought provoking as I consider how best to pd teachers to be more digitally literate educators. In particular raises in my mind the issues of Google Apps, where personal interactions can meet school-wide system objectives. Will this mean we will increasingly be moving to such tools for more embedded approaches to digital tool use in schools, or will we continue to need to call upon and differentiate between tools designed for education (such as Moodle) and personal tools (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google for that matter) as optional within the system?
Also re the student volunteers, this has been available for quite some time for those who see flattened learning environments as significant for education.”

Is this a pointer to the next step in digital change breaking down the walls that hold up school authority on choice and value?

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valuing learning technologies

Posted by jturner56 on November 12, 2012

Following up from the last light offering that highlighted the limited value of ed research in  valuing learning technologies, several experiences this past week point to an arising question, if not research what values do we use to judge the what, how and why of learning technologies?

As starting point, Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise points to the risk of intellectual nihilism when new media and new media overload pressure people to polarize their thinking. Sources increasingly are at least in part subjective.

So when I read The five most over-hyped trend in education and Dispelling the myths about 1:1 environments I did so with renewed interest in the subjective domain and rationalizations, as well as critical thinking inconsistencies. With so much to choose from new frameworks of choice and value are needed, to be able to move beyond personal opinion as published justifications.

To me it’s more and more about the community we wish to create together and the implications beyond. This in times where education is having to cater and contend with increasing personalized demands (from parents, teacher and students). Unless we hold to a bunkering down mentality, we require new emphases on

  • essential agreements
  • awareness raising (that is, including formal education in information processing techniques)
  • clarity of agreed objectives and available support
  • partnerships at all levels

Beyond this pedagogical choice will be influenced by the extent one holds to

  • constructionism (using digital technologies as a personal creation tool)
  • constructivism (using digital technologies in support of reflective meta-cognition)
  • connectionism (using digital technologies to connect beyond the physical four-walled classroom)
  • flattened learning (teachers utilizing student input for digital problem solving and creation)
  • visual learning (through the use of digital media)
  • self-centredness

As I continue to wade, surf and swim through the many currents and eddies of educational technology, more and more I wonder where the John Dewey of the 21st Century will come from. Someone who can join philosophical, psychological, scientific and curriculum insights into an overdue coherency. Perhaps moving beyond Learning By Doing to …….

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