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Archive for January, 2016

Response to Larry Cuban’s “New Project in Technology Integration in Schools and Classrooms”

Posted by jturner56 on January 24, 2016

Comment as posted 23 January 2016 to Larry Cuban’s New Project in Technology Integration in Schools and Classrooms (Part 2)

As always appreciated.
Two points. Firstly, if looking at school as traditionally structured, it’s already been identified. See John Hattie (2009), as quoted in Mal Lee (2015) Digital Technology And Student Learning: The Impact Of The Ecology > “Hattie’s (2009) meta-analysis of the known key learning variables and readers will see all the pathfinder schools had a clear, shaping educational vision; had set high expectations; had clearly identified the desired educational benefits; had an astute principal willing to lead and develop a culture that encouraged risk; and had striven to empower all their teachers to consistently lift the quality of teaching, to employ a diversity of teaching strategies and to foster the collaboration between the school and the home.
Secondly, case studies provide a snapshot in time, but too often miss the 3Ss > sustainability, scalability and systemizability. In Ed Tech proponents have been ignoring such issues going back as far as MLC as the first 1:1 laptop school in 1989, and even beyond. I hope you don’t fall for the same three card trick.
Where those looking outside-in should meet with those looking inside-out, is where you identified in your December 2015 post – Predictions, Dumb and Otherwise, about Technology in Schools in 2025 – that “fundamental questions have to deal with matters of educational philosophy–what knowledge is most worth? Why? What are the best ways of teaching and learning? What are other ways of organizing schools to help students learn and grow into independent, clear-thinking, and whole people?” In this we are all too often stuck considering K-12 as a singular, blanched consideration, when there are clear development levels identified by cognitive research.
In the meantime we try to maintain a balanced approach to Integration/Infusion as if that is as good as it gets within our current leadership and structural frameworks, stuck between the willingness of School all too willing to see ever-changing Digital in Isolation (segmented, disjointed, paper as default) up against Integral (personal interactions at the individual level beyond the permit of School). Perhaps this also is not helped by an ed tech industry long on words but short on actual commitment to K-12 (As noted in a recent NYT article: Education Technology Graduates From the Classroom to the Boardroom. This is one key area where School education differs from medicine and other professions. Another, of course, is how Teaching as a profession is viewed politically (from outside-in and inside-out) compared to other professions.
I wish you luck.


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The challenge of digital 4 learning in School

Posted by jturner56 on January 10, 2016

I am pondering why after over twenty years for digital portfolios, and over thirty years for coding, School as institutions are uncertain as to where these and other digital transformations fit in.

Something also noted by Wan Ng (2015) in New Digital Technology in Education, who cited Holkner et al’s (2008) view that “there is still confusion about the use of technology in the classroom and widespread reluctance to move beyond tokenistic use.

I see this as part of an ongoing debate going as far back as Taylor’s (1980) differentiation of approaches to computer use in education, and pertinently examined by Seymour Papert’s (1997) in Why School Reform is Impossible (1997) where he highlighted the limitations, defensiveness, and assimilating powers of the Grammar of School as a self-serving bureaucracy.

Papert also put faith in evolution through teacher demonstration.

Fast forward to Mal Lee’s (2015) Digital Technology and Student Learning: The Impact of the Ecology, where he cited John Hattie’s criteria for success for educational institutions, including clarity of vision, high expectations, and clearly identifiable educational benefits.

Yet Ng (2015) notes, citing Holkner again, that “there is not a universal, shared vision regarding the use of technology in the classroom and teachers are confronted with many theories and instructional designs and bombarded with confusing, even romantic, views of what the technology is capable of delivering. It is not possible to definitively establish a direct link between learning with technology and improved outcomes.

If Digital is to play a part in Digital Age Education, then perhaps School needs to develop ‘digital-first’ mindsets and better communication of benefits, as identified in Why Digital Transformation is so Difficult, and 8 ways to Make it Happen (McKendrick 2015).

Only then might there be any chance to move beyond the first-order barriers (access, time, support, attitude) that are still in play.

If School wants to be effective then this will include commitments to organisation, expectations, leadership, and clarity of mission ( 2013). If Schools want to be great then an intentional culture must be created to be perpetuated (Bassett 2013).

At the heart of this would be evaluation of where School is heading with digital: Integral to School, Integrated to the Grammar of School (after all we’ve only been trying for 30 years), or Isolated (as a segmented disjointed consideration).

Only then can the educational affordances of digital 4 learning be truly understood. Affordances that range across Inquiry, Research, Connection, Meta-cognition and Literacy.

Despite what the politicians, limited edtech proponents and commercial interests might assert, this is a complex issue and there are no shortcuts (as Ng (2015) once again reminds us). But where would you start?



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