- On 15-12-2009
I was having a conversation last week with a teacher about the change that has occured (and is occuring) in the world since the advent of the computer. I believe I was one of the lucky ones because I jumped on the wave right at the start.
I had my first PC at the age of 15 back in 1982. It was a black and white screened Tandy Model III with 48K RAM and I installed the floppy drive myself (it was initially a cassette driven PC). I bought it myself out of money I earned doing paper rounds. I had seen a mate of mine play around with a computer and I thought … that’s cool. My school didn’t get its first computers until Year 12 (1984) and we mainly played games on those Apple II’s. But these factors led me to choose a science/ engineering double degree as my preferred degree with a major in computer science.
I was there when the personal computer revolution began and then when the internet began I had already played around with it at University (we had the early versions of it at Monash). As someone who is an early Gen X person I was someone who was very different than most other Gen X’s. In terms of being able to adapt to this world … I was in the right place, at the right time, making the right choices.
This brings me to the current social media revolution that is occuring (see video below). We are in the midst of a breaking wave that some people are suggesting is the next revolution. It will impact our communication, our sense of the world, our relationships, marketing and advertising, how we perceive each other and the world. It can be a huge opportunity for us as educators to explore and educate our students in this world.
It can be scary and confronting as a teacher to understand and use the new technology. In fact Schools and the Education Department are quite slow in adjusting policy to deal with the changes occuring in the world.
What I have discovered as I work with students in an inquiry approach is that I don’t have to know how to use the technology. What I had to become skilled in was distinguishing what are the capacities I want to develop the students in and how can I use what they know to develop that. I have had to become more of a thoughtful coach, guider and applicator than the knowledge font. I am still a great collector of information and knowledge. I read the paper daily. I read articles and watch videos such as the above weekly. I talk to teachers and students and even my kids (who are 6 and 9 yrs old) about what they are doing. I then share what I learn with others to instigate thoughts.
My question to you is … how are you facilitating and supporting your children and students in keeping abreast of this revolution. Are you a Luddite or an Innovator?
Are you preparing them for a 21st century world that is changing so quickly that a recent article suggested that in the next two decades we will advance technology-wise as much as we did in the last 5000 years.
This is not about just introducing technology to our schools and children. That would not work. This is about thoughtfully scaffolding learning and teaching such that we all grow and learn together and develop particular capacities in our community. Technology for the sake of having the latest gadgets is useless. And I have seen schools do that.
So while you have a Christmas break and you have time to think. Think about how can you use one piece of social media to improve your courses and have a go at it next year.
Merry Christmas and see you in 2010!