Light Offerings

Digital Literacy Workshops in Doha

Posted by jturner56 on March 8, 2013

This week I was fortunate enough to be invited to lead teacher workshops as part of the ICT in Education Conference at the College of the North Atlantic in Doha, Qatar (see http://webit.cna-qatar.edu.qa/ictconf/2013/ for more)

It was a well run conference with some excellent keynote presenters on robotics (Daniele Benedettelli and Dr. Ethan Danahy).

What I learned or had confirmed was

  • that teachers are interested and willing to progress their level of digital literacy to add value to the educational experiences they provide to their students.
  • in any workshop, as in any school, there are a range of expertise that has to be accommodated. Students supporting each other, and communicating with each participant to determine their needs, are crucial aspects of any digital literacy approach
  • the potential of Google apps to democratize learning was apparent. While I don’t like to advocate any one software, the value of Google apps to support higher-order thinking as identified by Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and the ISTE NETs was a clear take-way for me. This was amplified by the no-cost and personal account uses of Google.
  • I remain concerned that in many schools the traditional limitations of problems with access to technology, support for new ideas, and conflicting priorities, hold back teachers and students. This seems to also be linked to trust concerns at all levels. Perhaps with powerful software, such as Google Apps, and a lessening of centralised controls, such as through BYOT, new dynamics and values for creation can emerge to finally overcome this. The feeling of hope in all participants was noteworthy. It will be in the end a leadership issue.

Where to? Like the movie Field of Dreams we as educators can only hope to build opportunities and hope our students come to what’s offered. So too for school leaders and system administrators. Teachers are not, and should not, be viewed as passive tools. They can lead by example if supported. We need to celebrate the small progresses and not just expect external deliverance.

 

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