I regularly watch videos on technology usage in the classroom. I am the one scouring Youtube for clips on using Nearpod at the elementary, secondary, and university level for a workshop that I am designing on 21st century skills and problem based learning. Today I am going to lead two mini-workshops, introductions to using educational technology in the classroom. I found myself dancing on the web with the legs that are my fingers to find more videos, websites, resources, apps.
The process of learning self-organization is what Sugata Mitra talks about in the clip above. It is definitely critical pedagogy in practice, in my opinion, supported by educational technology. The students are given the space to explore and design their own outcomes and products. There is such fear of educational technology in schools that I visit. There is a resistance. I see the bodies of teachers, new and veteran alike, become rigid. Their arms cross at the thought of bringing in educational technology. They say things like, “What I am doing works” or “It takes too much time to plan for this. I would have to start all over” or “How does this align to the Common Core State Standards” or “This won’t be on the test”. They think of their binders of resources, the copies that they have in their files, the rubrics and standards, the standardized tests. They think of their evaluations. They think of the work that they WILL have to do, all of the learning that they will have to do, to keep up and evolve in this changing world. My push is to yes, acknowledge all of these fears and the realities from which they spring, but to also challenge us to consider our students. We have to do more planning and instruction centered on our students. The creativity and innovation available to students with the aid of educational technology that augments best practices and well-developed instruction is boundless!
I think of a world in which children can carry their tablets on a hike, learning when curiosity strikes. How is that bird identified? How can you identify it by call, color, beak shape? A picture and some tapping can help a student identify within moments without depending on the expertise of a guide or teacher. The experience is the hike. Perhaps the challenge is to create a nature journal of a particular area on that hike. Maybe the students are developing their observational skills. The tech can help them to record the sounds, take the pictures, make comparisons, write a report in a lab format, learn Latin names and history on the evolution of that species and more.
A school in the cloud, a school in the hand, a boundless school in which the teachers are the students and the students are the teachers, receiving and producing knowledge in community (virtual and tangible).