Light Offerings

15 Digital Age progressions that are here if you want to value them.

Posted by jturner56 on March 16, 2014

My starting text today is the recent blog post 14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools by Icelandic elementary teacher, Ingvi Hrannar Ómarsson. It is in a similar vein to 21 Things That Will Be Obsolete by 2020 by blogger Shelly Blake-Plock. A listing is provided at the end.

What struck me was how few had become obsolescent, or how uneven changes have been. I could focus on issues of economic expediency, political expedience, hidden political agendas, bureaucratic agendas, self-serving intransigence, or structural inertia. But I thought better to pen 20 Digital Age progressions that are here if you want to value them.

NOTE: I am only focusing on digital aspects, and consider them only worthwhile if used in a balanced approach to personal and social development that includes space for creative enterprise and time for real thinking.

1. Wi-Fi as a standard

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.12.32 AMIf you wish to provide a education that is valued, visible, connected and progressive (which happens to be my school’s driving vision) then web connections need to be available, at-hand and integrated into daily learning.

2. A Personal Digital Inquiry and Creation device

Each teacher and student needs this in the same way they needed pens to write and paper to read.  It is not though, one approach for all for K-12. Development needs to take into account the cognitive, social, physical and emotional needs across a decade and a half  (and beyond) of development.

3. Multiple Ways of Valuing

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.23.51 AMPersonal cognitive development, social learning and community learning all require feedback systems, objective inclusive discussion, and recognition of progression. The Field of Dreams still had to be built.

4. Teacher Learning System

In a fast changing digitally-enhanced world should we leave teachers to their own devices, or commit to everyone being recognised and valued as a learner? This needs to encompass individual ownership and diversity in support of organisational objectives.

5. Teacher ModellingScreen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.19.45 AM

Further to (3), how the teacher leads is more important than what they say. Active modelling of flattened learning educates.

6. Leadership by example

While critical at the educating level, there is also a critical need for school leaders at whatever level. Non-involved school administrators is a no-no for any worthwhile progress. I tip my lid to David Loader on this one.

7. Community Value

Avenues and strengthened connection to parents and the wider community draw on expertise and elicit constructive feedback. They are part of any worthwhile learning community.

8. Digital Services

Any digital support expertise needs to be incorporated into the learning level.

9. Design Thinking

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.59.07 AMProjects and the construction of any digital project requires a mindset that can effectively (and efficiently) produce the best and learn from the process.

10. Digital Literacy Curriculum

A digital literacy development structure is needed to ensure all reach a workable level, can pursue personal interests, and take on new challenges.

11. New Information Processing Skills

The Internet redefines information gathering, processing and publishing. It’s not just The Library’s job any more, it’s for all of us.

12. Social Media Education Plan

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.25.06 AMAs part of the needed commitment to recognise the social and emotional basis for any quality learning, the integration of social media requires an understanding of what the Digital Age demands and requires. The NYC Department of Education Social Media Guidelines is a good starting point.

13. Personal iFolios

Each person’s digital image is taking on increasing importance. In part, you are what you produce to share.

14. Supported Maker SpacesScreen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.22.36 AM

Virtual and Physical. Valued and Integrated. Supported and Visible. Shared and Connected #CreateTheFuture and they will know.

15. Coding

Like a car we don’t need to know everything about what goes on under the hood. But we need mechanics, and they started somewhere learning basic maths. As our digital image becomes more entwined with our digital capabilities where will the educational basis come from?

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 9.23.22 AMWhen I look at the ‘obsolescence’ lists below I am struck by how we need to build the future rather than just measure it by what we want to lose (for whatever reason). Ken Robinson is half-right. We need coordinated, connected leadership at all levels with an honesty for improvement for which we are all too often found wanting

21 Things That Will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020
14 Things That Are Obsolete In 21st Century Schools
1. Desks2. Language Labs3. ‘Our concept of what a computer is’4. Homework5. The Role of Standardized Tests in College Admissions6. Differentiated Instruction as the Sign of a Distinguished Teacher7. Fear of Wikipedia8. Paperbacks9. Attendance Offices

10. Lockers.

11. IT Departments as we currently know them.

12. Centralized Institutions

13. Organization of Educational Services by Grade

14. Education School Classes that Fail to Integrate Social Technology

15. Paid/Outsourced Professional Development

16. Current Curricular Norms

17. Parent-Teacher Conference Night

18. Typical Cafeteria Food

19. Outsourced Graphic Design and Webmastering

20. High School Algebra I

21. Paper (In ten years’ time, schools will decrease their paper consumption by no less than 90%)

1. Computer Rooms2. Isolated classrooms3. Schools that don’t have WiFi4. Banning phones and tablets5. Tech director with an administrator access6. Teachers that don’t share what they do7. Schools that don’t have Facebook or Twitter8. Unhealthy cafeteria food9. Starting school at 8 o’clock for teenagers10. Buying poster-, website- and pamphlet design for the school11. Traditional libraries

12. All students get the same

13. One-Professional development-workshop-fits-all

14. Standardized tests to measure the quality of education

“Education can be encouraged from the top-down but can only be improved from the ground up” – Sir Ken Robinson

graphics  CreativeCommons authorized
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