Looking with Fresh Eyes

This blog post ( What is Sacred in Education?) by Kelly Tenkely caught my eye – she is writing about her school, Anastasis Academy, in Colorado. She wrote,

When we free ourselves from the perceived rigidity of the system that we are in, and begin with a clean slate, we are free to see things from new perspectives.

Liberate yourselves by giving your minds a ground zero, clean slate, to begin thinking.

The post is interesting as Kelly describes a little about her school and thinking, but the exercise Kelly suggests is a good one. I have been involved with a school division that has allowed teachers to start thinking like this, and as the faculty at my university considers program change, it would be good for us to do as well. So, what is sacred in education to Kelly? … students!

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Learning

Interesting post by George Siemens about learning – epistemology & ontology and the challenges in pursuing a Ph.D. The comments hit home about vulnerability – and questioning if you belong. Been there – and still am.

Learning is vulnerability. When we learn, we make ourselves vulnerable. When we engage in learning, we communicate that we want to grow, to become better, to improve ourselves. When I first started blogging, I had a sense of fear with every post (“did that sound stupid?”) …

Check out the entire post on George’s blog.

“No ‘best technologies’ for learning”

When it comes to educational technology, academics often talk about affordances. An affordance is “a quality of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action.” Mobile devices have many affordances lending themselves to new forms of learning. Unfortunately, many people tend to consider these affordances in a vacuum, as if their effective use wasn’t context-dependent. So we get slogans along the lines of ‘iPads improve learning’ — as though they were some kind of glistening panacea for learning.

… But there are no ‘best technologies’ for learning.

This excerpt is from a post on DNL (Digital Media & Learning) Central about 1:1 iPad initiatives. This central message is an important one. Be sure to read the entire post (link above).

Digital Immigrants?

First of all, being comfortable with and knowledgeable about technology has nothing to do with age. I know middle schoolers who are neither. I never touched a computer until college and when I did, I booted up that Apple IIe and never looked back! I think it has everything to do with an innate curiosity and a willingness to learn new things. The teacher who wants to teach one year, 35 times, will never embrace technology. The teacher who is constantly evolving and improving will certainly explore the possibilities technology brings to the classroom.

In this post, (No More Digital Immigrants) Mark Brumley exhorts us to stop using the digital immigrants term. He provides many good reasons to do so. I have fought this battle for awhile now. I get what Prensky was getting at, but the terms are unfortunate – and the concept is flawed. Research (including a project I am involved with) point out the inaccuracy of this. I am (just) over 55 and I started suing computers in high school (yes – punch cards & mainframes) and have been involved in using them since then. As Mark points out in this excerpt, tech skill has nothing to do with age – I encounter students who do not like or are comfortable with tech all the time. I sped considerable time showing and convincing aspiring teachers about the power of using digital technology for learning & teaching. I like how Mark words this passage – the message about teaching the same year over and over vs growing – what kind of educator do you want to be?