Quotes to Provoke Technology-inspired Teaching and Learning


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In a recent post, Diane Kashin shared a series of quotes associated with Reggio-inspired learning. After being inspired and provoked, it got me thinking about technology and provocations that could be used to help dig deeper into digital pedagogies. This lead me back to my collection of links housed in Diigo, as well as various visual quotes kept in Flickr. So here then is a collection of images to get you thinking deeper about technology:

Why Technology Alone Won’t Fix Schools


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In this extract from Geek Heresy published in The Atlantic, Kentaro Toyama makes that point that technology merely amplifes pre-existenting pedagogical capacity and only emphasises differences in wealth and achievement.

Why Coding is the Vanguard for Modern Learning


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In a response to the debate about coding, Richard Olsen makes an attempt reposition the way we see coding and why it truly matters. I wrote a response here.

Invent to Learn


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In their book Invent to Learn, Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager unpack everything from Project Based Learning, to Reggio Emilia, to makerspaces, to coding, all with the focus on learning through the act of making.

Parents: Reject Technology Shame


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In her post in the Atlantic, Alexandra Samuel argues that there are three distinct styles of digital parenting: limiters, mentors and enablers. I wrote a post wondering if the same distinctions could be applied to teachers.

(Digital) Identity in a World that No Longer Forgets


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license
In this post, Alec Couros and Katia Hilderbrandt ask the wicked question about life when we are no longer able to forget. There answer, empathy.

Visitors and Residents


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In response to Marc Prensky’s notion of native verses immigrant, David White and Alison Le Cornu put forward an alternative with the idea of visitors and residents.

Computers in Education – Great Machines, Wrong Results


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license 

A central figure behind Wolfram Alpha and Wolfram Mathworld, Conrad Wolfram questions the way we use technology.

Delayed Gratification


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

A continual inspiration in regards to play and experiential learning, Adrian Camm highlights the importance of developing resilience and moderation, rather simply banning devices like Sydney Grammar.

Creative Learning is Relational


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In this post exploring creativity, Tom Barrett provides an explanation for social bookmarking as a means of resurfacing ideas.

Scaling Creativity and Innovation


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In his book exploring the idea of creativity and innovation, David Culberhouse outlines the challenges associated with being a connected educator. Along with The Changing Face of Modern Leadership, Culberhouse’s books are a useful resource for addressing education in an ever connected world.

Curation as a Tool for Teaching and Learning


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Along with Robin Good’s post, Heather Baille’s essay offers an excellent discussion of all things curation and its place within education.

Too Big To Know


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In the book that produced the saying that the smartest person in the room is the room, David Weinberger provides the warning that being in the room is not enough. It is what you do that actually matters.

OPEN


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In his book on the modern world, David Price coined the notion of ‘SOFT’. Central to this is the power of sharing.

From Master Teacher to Master Learner


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

In his book From Master Teacher to Master Learner, Will Richardson provides an outline for what is required with modern learning.

Why I’m Giving up on Creative Commons on YouTube


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In a post aimed at Youtube’s confusing CC licences, Eddie Kai highlights the purpose of such licences and where this has gone wrong.

How to Get a Job at Google


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
In an article exploring modern employability skills, Thomas Friedman explains what you need to do to get a job at Google.

Revolution or Encouragement?


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In a response to Will Richardson’s post, Dean Shareski argues that what is needed is not revolution, but support for those already doing great things.

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

In the book summarising his work with digital literacies, Doug Belshaw addresses everything from what constitutes technology to how we actually define literacy. I wrote an extended response here.

A Bicycle of the Mind


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Reflecting on the place of iPads in teaching and learning, Chris Betcher makes the call to let students actually utilise technology.

Smarter Than You Think


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

In an extract from his book Smarter Than You Think, Clive Thompson suggests that even the worst bloggers are making us smarter by working openly in the connection of different ideas.

Keeping Teens Private on Facebook Won’t Protect Them


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Like Adrian Camm, danah boyd argues that instead of worrying about locking teens into protected communities, rather our concern should be about integrating them constructively into the wider web. This is a message carried through her book It’s Complicated.

On Best Behaviour- Three Golden Rules for Ethical Cyber Citizenship


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Although there is some dispute about the application of Kant’s transcendental principles, David Tuffley’s post provides an interesting take on digital citizenship.

Inequality and BYOD


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
George Couros touches on one of the biggest challenges associated with technology, that is how we use it. This is a

What the Net Did Next


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

Taken from danah boyd’s book It’s Complicated, this quote from Vint Cerf sums up much of the challenge with technology, that it is how and why we use the internet that needs to be questioned.


Here then is a collection of quotes that I have come upon. They may not be the most quotable, rather they are those moments that stood out to me as I read. So what about you, what are some of the quotes you draw on to help stretch your understanding of technology. As always, comments welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

REVIEW: Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free by @doctorow


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

I remember when, while still studying at university, I attended my first educational conference. It was the History Teachers Association National Conference. Being new, I had no idea how to choose what sessions to attend. That is how I ended up in a session reviewing the recent changes to the senior syllabus. To add to matters, I walked in late and the session had already started. There were comments being thrown around left, right and centre. On one hand I felt lost and out of place, but on the other hand it demonstrated to me what was required, both in regards to appreciation of the complexity of the curriculum, as well as the work I still needed to do in order to get my head around the topic. I had a similar feeling reading Cory Doctorow’s book Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free – Laws for the Internet Age.

Author, blogger and activitst, Doctorow provides a vision of now. Along with critics such as Quinn Norton and Audrey Watters, he captures a dystopian side of technology too often overlooked in the mainstream media. Although there are those such as Sherry Turkle who highlight the negative impacts of technology, Doctorow focuses on the choices that are so often dictated onto society by governments and large corporations.

Influenced by Arthur C. Clarke, Doctorow frames this discussion around three ‘laws’:

  1. Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and wont give you the keys that lock isnt there for your benefit.
  2. Fame won’t make you rich, but you can’t get paid without it.
  3. Information doesn’t want to be free, people do.

Through his investigations he touches on how coding works, including ways it can be broken, and why the use of digital locks, hidden code and DRM is a problem, not a solution. He talks about how with access to the biggest audience machine ever a little bit of fame can go a long way. However, this can also lead us into the trap of handing over rights to our work in the name of popularity and promotion. Doctorow also addresses the place of copyright in a digital age, exploring aspects, such as censorship, remixes, national firewalls and the spread of ideas.

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age does not make the claim, like some, that ‘Google’ is making us dumb, rather that corporations are creating a world that restricts our freedoms and limits our privacy. The concern is not the strangers online supposedly waiting for prey to stalk upon, but 1’s and 0’s mined unbeknownst to us by online companies. Although there is a lot of fear associated with all of this, it does not have to be that way and Doctorow is keen to point out that there is still hope. The question though is what tomorrow are we willing to fight for? This is an important read not only to appreciate the world that we are in, but to build an awareness of the impact of the choices made either by us or for us each and every day.

Here is a collection of quotes for a different perspective on the book:


While for those interested in Doctorow’s ideas, I recommend the following videos:



If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Speaking, Listening and Intervention


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license

Teaching intervention raises many opportunities that aren’t always as possible in a normal classroom, such as the use of Lego to represent Mathematical concepts (although Mark Anderson provides a solution for this, suggesting that each student gets a small bag). Another opportunity that has arisen has been the use of technology.

From my experience there are a range of reasons why students end up in intervention. For some it is the support, while others it is about confidence and encouragement. However, there is a group who sometimes just don’t necessarily care (see both Tom Barrett and Dave Cormier for discussions on this matter). Although limited as to how much I can modify the tasks at hand, I have instead focused on modifying the product that students produce.

Here then are some examples of the ways I have used technology to improve student outcomes:

Interactive Vocabulary

Vocabulary has been a particular focus this term. At the start of a session on persuasive language, students worked collaboratively to make a word web, where each word had to be connected with another word. This forced students to not just brainstorm words, but look closely at the words that were already there. They ended up with roughly twenty words. I then used an iPad to capture the finished product and added it to Book Creator and gave students the challenge of not only writing definitions for the various words, but recording them as well. Using small whiteboards, students wrote their definitions and before recording did a practice run. Just about every student rewrote their definition after the initial run-through, not because anyone told them that they were wrong, but rather as they read it out loud they found things that they wanted to change. After recording, we were left with an interactive page full of definitions.

Multiple Representations

Students were exploring the representation of fractions and were given the challenge to show a fraction in different ways. They were then required to provide a short explanation of what they created which would be recorded using Adobe Voice. The intent was to support students with the appropriate use of language. This was also a useful activity for identifying various misconceptions in regards to fractions.

A Current Affair

One of my groups was working on recording their own episodes of A Current Affair. Having recently purchased Touchcast’s Studio in a Box, a collection of resources designed to help make any space a studio. I set up the green screen on the board in our classroom and students used the TouchCast app to record the different episodes. To do this they emailed their scripts to me which were then copied into the teleprompter. After some trial runs, students ran through their presentations. What was interesting was that although all were willing to sit in front of the class to present, the addition of video forced many to reconsider how they spoke. This added a level of feedback and self-critique was something that was previously absent from the activity.


It can be so difficult to find experiences which allow students to develop their speaking skills, especiallying in regards to fluency and intonation. Here are a few things that I have found, but what about you? What are some of the things that you have done? As always, comments welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Meeting People is Easy – on Connecting to People on Twitter


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I was recently asked who to follow on Twitter. This is so subjective. It would be easy to say follow XYZ. However, something is missed in this. Whenever someone joins up, I recommend people that I feel might be of interest to them and how I understand them. If though this is not enough, these are some of the strategies that I have used to broaden my network:

  • Lists: I find so many people who are unaware that lists even exist. They allow you to group together collections of users. Hidden in the options within the usual Twitter application, lists come into their own if you use Tweetdeck. You can subscribe to others or create your own. You can make them public or keep them private. A great place to start is Sue Water’s list of Australian Educators. You can either subscribe to this list which will add it to your collection or go through and add various users. Once you start looking, you will find endless lists out there to mine.
  • Chats: Another great place to find new people is in chats. Two positives to this is that they are often active users (for they would not be participating in the chat), while they are specific to an area of interest. If you are interested in coaching then check out #educoachOC the first Monday of every month. If you are a PE teacher check out #pechat on every other Monday. If you are simply interested in education in Australia and abroad then check out #satchatoz on a Saturday morning. (Not the times will change depend on where you are reading this, sorry.) What is great about chats is that if you missed them, you can easily catch up at a later time. They are often Storified to make this easier.
  • Follow-Who-Others-Follow: A different approach to chats and lists is to simply follow who other people are following. Maybe you have found someone who is sharing interesting things, whose ideas push your thinking, then look at who they are following. This can be useful to really broaden your network. For example, maybe you have read Jon Andrews’ blog and find that he shares interesting ideas, check out who maybe inspiring him and add some of these voices to your stream. This approach however has its limits when you follow people who may follow hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

The reality in the end is that there are so many different means of adding to your network. For some, like Alec Couros, if you are in education you are in. Others swear by lists of people published using the hashtag #FF (aka ‘Follow Friday’). Others just depend on Twitter’s algorithms to suggest people. The reality is, finding people is easy, the real challenge is what you do once you are there. That, in the end, is what matters most. You can follow five or fifty thousand, if you are not engaging (either sharing or lurking) then what is the point?

So what about you? How do you build your networks? As always, comments welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

A Reflection on the Ultranet


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

In a recent 2 Regular Teachers podcast, Rick Kaylor-Thomson and Adam Lavers looked back upon the Ultranet. With the current IBAC investigation into the whole affair, they touched on some of the good things to come out of the Ultranet, as well as some of the not so good aspects (including the exorbitant opening day.) It once again had me reflecting. Here then is a summary of what I see as the good, the bad and the disappointments relating to the Ultranet:

  • What If: One of the best things to come out of the Ultranet was a compelling vision for ‘what if’. Sometimes the hardest challenge when implementing any sort of change is helping people to actually imagine it. The possibilities to collaborate and connect in a safe digital space was clearly communicated by the Ultranet. Although blogs and wikis have been around for years, the Ultranet organised all of these possibilities in one central space.
  • Implementation: Although the vision was clear, too much time was spent on teaching the tool, rather than the pedagogical possibilities. To me this is teaching technology 101, it is about the learning, not the tool. Sadly, there was little dialogue or discussion about what such a space might look like in the classroom. By the end of it all, I had lost count of the amount of times I had seen the New Brunswick video. Interestingly, in a recent interview for Radio National’s Future Tense, Neil Selwyn argued that what is needed in regards to technology is some sort of support and guidance from above. The problem though is that the Ultranet offered that opportunity and with its demise a massive gap has been left.
  • Teacher-Centred vs. Student-Centred: Everyone seems to have come out of the Ultranet with the reality that we need some sort of virtual space. The problem is that for many the solution has been to invest in the world of the LMS. Often this answer is about aspects such as reporting and accountability. However, there is limited provision for peer to peer communication and supposed ease of use. What this does more than anything else is reiterate the model of teacher-centred learning. This is led many to develop dual spaces, whether it be blogs, Edmodo, Facebook or Google Apps. Maybe a mixed solution is the best solution. However, more needs to be done in regards to the LMS’ to integrate some of these other spaces.

So what about you? What were your experiences with the Ultranet? Or maybe you have used something else? As always, comments welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Voice Recording with Google Docs


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

So often we perceive innovation as being about the big things. However, sometimes it can be something small which can have the biggest impact. Last year, Google released voice typing for Google Docs in Chrome. This had been available both via the iPad app and using Google Keep. However, it was not something built into Docs on the web.

While conducting a writing conference in intervention the other day, I decided to open up a Doc and give it a go. As we read through the handwritten document, it recorded the text. This meant that together we could then add comments in the Google Doc and begin the editing process there. Several other students showed quickly hovered around with interest.

To record, you simply go to Tools and click on Voice Typing. Once expanded, you simply click on the microphone to turn it on and off. There are also a range of cues you can use to add punctuation, such as period, comma, exclamation point, question mark, new line and new paragraph.

For some, such as Clive Thompson, voice recognition technology has the potential to dramatically change the ways in which we consider handwriting and writing. I guess only time will tell.


Postscript

I was recently asked about the ability to record and transcribe interviews on the computer. Naomi Barnes said that Docs was a possibility if the recording was clear enough. This reminded me of something that Alan Levine did a few years ago, where he recorded both the audio and a transcript at the same time. Along with YouTube’s automatic transcription service, both these solutions still require some sort of human intervention in reviewing the finished product. It is for this reason that many who I asked recommended doing your own transcriptions. Ian Guest mentioned that you can get foot pedals that plug into the computer to start and stop recordings, while Clive Thompson said that if you don’t transcribe yourself there are services like Rev which you can outsource to.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

Know Thy Digital Impact – A Reflection on Digital Research


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I received a request today for any research that could be used to show how ICT is improving student outcomes? To me, this is such a complicated problem. Firstly, what is a ‘student outcome’? Secondly, technology is a tool used to support learning, not something that can necessarily be measured in and of itself. The question then to be considered is what outcomes do you measure in order to ascertain the impact of technology? Here then is my list of possibilities:

  • Engagement: This is often the first place that people go to. Maybe this focuses on whether they associate with learning or participate. However, as David Price highlights, measuring it is not always obvious. That is, it is not always seen, not simply about test scores or having fun. Seymour Papert touches on this when he suggests that learning should involve ‘hard fun‘, where learning is difficult, rather than easy.
  • School Connectedness: This is often a barometer used in surveys like Attitudes to School. However, although such measurement is useful when it comes to well-being, it is not so obvious when it comes to technology.
  • Collaboration and Problem Solving: This is popular when it comes to 21st century learning and has received considerable focus, particularly from the ATC21s group. The challenge is often capturing the different facets of cooperative learning and where technology sits in this.
  • Learning Agency: Like engagement and connectedness, what agency means can be different for different people. Claire Amos has provided a detailed guide for introducing agency. In first place, she argues for one-to-one access, although how you differentiate this from the rest of the list I am not sure.
  • Creativity: Sir Ken Robinson describes this as “putting your imagination to work”. However, like collaboration and problem solving, this can be hard to pin down, especially in relation to tools and technology.
  • Digital Citizenship: Often people argue we should use technology as a model for life. An example of this is provided by Alec Couros and Katia hildebrandt in their digital citizenship curriculum for the Saskatchewan Schools District. Much of this is also included within the new Digital Technologies curriculum, with more focus on how technology works. Although tools like David White and Alison Le Cornu’s mapping of the web from in regards to residents and visitors provide a useful point of reflection, they do not necessarily demonstrate specific learning growth.

In the end though the problem that still exists beyond what to measure is the questions of how is the technology actually used and why. A more fruitful approach is to enter develop a holistic action research project incorporating the ioi process. Instead, people commit themselves to frameworks like SAMR to guide them. In addition to this, the reality is that a school further on the road towards normalisation is going to have more success with technology, than one at the beginning of its journey. Importantly, Mal Lee points out that,

Until school principals are of a mind to transform ‘their’ school the staff and the school’s community have little likelihood of changing the status quo.

The problem though as Paul Tozer points out is that at present, with the focus on NAPLAN and VCE, moving into the digital realm is not always a priority.

For those interested, here is a list of research, presentations and publications shared online:

As always, comments, links and suggestions welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.