Friday, May 23, 2008

I've just gate-crashed a Voicethread!

I feel a bit guilty for joining in the conversation uninvited, but it was just so interesting, and so real to my teaching, that I couldn't resist joining in! Serves you guys right for making it public!

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'ld rather be a Digital Pioneer!

In answer to the Learning Circuits Blog's May 2008 Big Question.

I've only been on the blogosphere since last year. One debate that I keep coming across, is the Digital Native / Digital Immigrant one.

According to those in the know, the Digital Native's are users that automatically and intuitively use new technology. Digital Immigrants are starting to use the technology, but seem to keep reverting to hard copies and tried and trusted methods for finding information / communication and collaboration.

Where do I fit in? I'm not that young anymore, and didn't grow up with computers, but I have been around them since the advent of Windows 3.1. I still believe that my students should know some facts and have some general knowledge. I still drill their Times Tables into them. (Yes, yes, I know, it's sooo old-fashioned - but I do use online interactive activities to do it!)

I'm not an expert at anything, really. It keeps changing too fast. I dabble in blogging, create a podcast here, try my hand at Voicethread and RSS feeds, there.

What I do find, is that a lot of the stuff I'm trying and introducing, is new to my students. I'm leading my students into unchartered territory. They trust my leadership. To them, I am the one that tests the waters; I tread unknown paths before I let them try; I lead the way to safe learning. My next years' students will probably find the projects I've done this year ''old hat". But I think of it this way: Together we will be on a new adventure in new technology highways, that do not even exist yet!

Do I need to change the way I teach? Yes and No. Change is inevitable in some ways. The resources may have changed. I see computer technology as a tool, and not as a pedagogy. Learning has not changed, though. My students still need structured tasks. I will still be choosing appropriate learning areas, asking open-ended questions, keeping my students engaged and interested with whatever resources I can find. The classroom may have glass walls. We may be part of a global community. But we still want to optimize learning, just as we always have.

One thing I am certain of. Together we will have Digital adventures. Together we will navigate new lands. My students and I are Digital Pioneers!

Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.


The New Learning

I found this video on Youtube. It really underscores the new learning reality:

- Teachers are no longer the experts.
- Cost no longer curtails our learning, but access rights can!
- Participation and collaboration are vital to successful learning, and one of the most important skills we can teach our students.

Have a look for yourself!