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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Education 2.0

"Timeo danaos et dona ferentes" 
"I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts" - Virgil


Well, as much as i'd like to say it's wonderful that the government has decided to give us a 1:1 ratio of laptops/computers to every student, but what can this actually do to change the way students learn? 


Now that we have a 1:1 ratio, it's assumed that the sheer provision of technology is all it takes to bring Education into the 21st Century, when in fact, hundreds of these wondrous devices are happily sleeping in storage cabinets and will be...for a very long time.


Now why is that....?  Well, it's not the physical resources we need to upgrade....


Yes you know what I mean and no don't take offense because we've all been there! In fact it's harder than we think to pull ourselves out of that comfort zone. Here's a personal example:


One day I booked a lesson in the computer lab where I organised for students to research information on an online article I linked them to and answer questions on a pre-made microsoft word document to save in a network folder. When I was in school, this would have been a step up from the regular comprehension as we got to surf the web !! Although nowadays, students are not so fascinated with this as it's now a part of their every day lives. 


Just as many of us would have been "wowed" by the introduction of email, I doubt many of us marvel at our inboxes these days...oh fun fun.


Anyway...to my surprise (back then anyway) I heard this chorus of groans when I gave them the intro to the lesson and yeah, my students drearily typed the answers out (those that could be bothered attempting) that were cunningly hidden within the article in a perfect sequence that gave them little to no flexibility, ownership, collaboration...or enjoyment. 


I walked into that lesson confident and thinking to myself "yeah look at me... successfully integrating technology into the classroom..WOO!"  That "Maverick" confidence lasted all of 5 seconds into the period as my lesson was chewed up and spat out.


Many of us give up right there or at least think....i'll stick with what i'm good at, where i'm comfortable and not delve into the potential train wreck of a lesson like the one I mentioned.


DON'T GIVE UP!  When this technology is used well, which does take time...it's quite exciting...!


Remember....The future belongs to the risk takers, not the security seekers.


Stay tuned on this blog for some posts on what's out there for teachers in the 21st Century.


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