Thursday, November 14, 2013

Patience for the Unconnected, Doomed Roll-outs, and other Ed Tech Matters of the Day

Patience for the Unconnected
Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect. Too often they are so enthusiastic at how, as well as how much they are learning through being connected, that they tend to overwhelm the uninitiated, inexperienced, and unconnected educator with a deluge of information that both intimidates and literally scares them to death.  

Teach Kids To Be Their Own Internet Filters
Students live in an information-saturated world. Rather than shielding them from the digital world, many agree the most effective way to keep them safe and using the internet responsibly as a learning tool is to teach them how to be their own filters. That’s not only a life skill, but one that’s important when researching. Older kids, especially, have the capacity to learn how to decide which online sources can be trusted and why.

When Wikipedia Is the Assignment
Shared, public online documents have characteristics in common with parts of the academic review process. "The shift to thinking about placing the term paper as a Wikipedia encyclopedia entry allows for another level of peer review," Groom said. Such entries have references and citations; allow for a process of repeated, continual editing; and encourage collaborations between authors.

How Twitter Tore Down My District's Walls
Photo by Rhys A. via Compfight cc
I began to notice a few staff from my district were tweeting with people outside our district about education topics that informed the contemporary learning work we were doing. One night while watching a heated discussion occur--140 characters at a time--among educators from Michigan, New Jersey, and my district I started to see them exert influence upon each other. They were developing and influencing each other’s practice. This was quite different than the normal process of controlled professional development that is usually determined by the district and delivered within the district walls.

Why L.A.’s iPad Rollout Was Doomed
The second big issue was a lack of training, professional development, and overall, a failure to recognize the human resource needs created by a big device rollout like this one. “Teachers were not trained in the system to manage the devices. Nobody at the school was trained. A couple people from the district that came out to sort of help and they had somebody at the school who was the de facto tech person, teaching teachers how to use it after it had been deployed,” says Contractor #1

Seven Pathways to a New Teacher Professionalism
We saw that no matter what our schools were asking “for,” what they really wanted their children to do fell into one or both of two broad categories: They wanted children to use contemporary technologies to interact broadly and consistently with the world in meaningful and deep ways, or/and. they wanted children to be makers most of the day, not just consumers. 

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