Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

The AltSchool Initiative – Algorithms in Education

Image: https://pixabay.com/p-908168

A colleague of mine recently sent me this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40485293 which presents a short movie clip showing the AltSchool initiative. This is a thought provoking piece.

AltSchool is developing a model of education that relies on modern technology to bring about tailored programs of instruction. The system marries sophisticated algorithms, resource development and adaptive instructional programs. It utilises algorithms that track student progress through ongoing formal, but predominantly formative, assessment and the use of quality teacher- and child-actionable feedback, built in to the learning process.  This is supported by the development and presentation of tailored resources, activities, assessment and experiences. Read More

Knee-jerk reactions to technology in schools

knee-jerk reactionI was recently contributing to an email conversation around the use of technology in schools. I made these remarks.

Regarding ASD and technology. What I have read indicates that children on the spectrum have a tendency toward addictive behaviour due to their comfort at doing a familiar task over and over. I think this, when twinned with the fact that apps are designed to be engaging, causes the problem. So the question is, do we train them somehow to moderate their behaviour and therefore cope more effectively in the world, or do we keep them away from technology hoping it doesn’t become a problem. Probably the answer is somewhere in between these, depending on the extent of the specific child’s abilities/disabilities due to their place on the spectrum. Careful and sensible management of students’ use of technologies such as tablets, laptops and phones is the way to go.

I don’t know enough about ASD to be able to comment in depth about the way we prepare them for a technology saturated world, but I generally push back against some articles I’ve seen that talk in terms of doom and gloom about technology use. These articles inevitably have an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to withdrawing the use of technology from education. Read More

Education, Coding and being Agile

CodingIn response to this LinkedIn post, I wrote a comment which turned out too long by a thousand characters or more!

Peter Grant initiates the discussion where Peter and the respondents make some thought-worthy points regarding STEM, particularly around the issue of coding. The discussion centres on the whether the promotion of coding and IT in universities is preparing students for the jobs of the future.

The comment I wrote went something like this…

Generally speaking, education is generationally slow to respond and often driven by federal, state, and local political agendas Read More

A Critical Approach: Innovation and the Relationship Between Pedagogy and ICTs

What use paper?

I have recently been reading some good blog posts on the relationship between technology and pedagogy when considering mobile device implementation in the classroom. Eric Sheninger’s ‘Why Pedagogy First, Tech Second Stance is Key to the Future‘ is a sound account of some of the issues to consider when implementing mobile devices, or in fact any technology, within classrooms.

A few points I would make about innovation, particularly related to digital technology use:

Successful implementation of technology needs to be well planned at both the strategic and the operational levels. In many ways, the strategic and operational should, and will, inform each other. However, during the planning and re-planning cycle of development it is useful to consider strategy separately to the issues that are necessary to consider during operational programming. Read More

How well is technology used at school?

SAMR

The SAMR model.

A colleague from another school shared a link to the article What are the Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make When Integrating Technology into the Classroom? This gives a summary of mistakes made in considering technology use in schools.

While reading this article I thought of a compounding issue that relates to these types of concerns. The problem, I posit, is that some types of technology are so ubiquitous in everyday use that there is a ‘technology so what!’ attitude that is developing. I think many students, parents and, unfortunately, some educators think that because they use their tablet, laptop, phone, and now wearable technologies, often in their everyday life they are ‘using technology’.  Well of course they are using technology, but as Allan November tells us regarding 1 to 1 laptop initiatives, we are often not using our technologies above the level of the ‘$1000 pencil’. Read More

Do Schools Need a Policy for Social Network Issues?

Social Media Regulation (image from Wikimedia Commons by Pmox)

I think it essential that a school or system of schools has policy that covers the communication behaviours that are considered acceptable as part of school operations, and, furthermore, details those behaviours that either need regulating or banning.

There are several aspects to the use of social media use that relate to schools. These include consideration of:

  • Official school and school system use of social media channels – news / parent information / promotions / advertising
  • Educational use of school mediated social media – hosted inside or outside the school or system – Facebook groups that students can join / School LMS functions / educational Web 2.0 tools / external course material / chat rooms
  • Personal use by staff and students of social media for educational purposes – personal email addresses / twitter accounts / Web 2.0 tools (wiki’s, blogs, socially mediated groups, photo sharing etc.)
  • Social, non-educational use of social media between staff, staff and parents, staff and students.

Generally I don’t believe in setting policies that:

  • Cannot be policed
  • Are based on a specific type of device, object or service

Probably weapons such as guns and knives are an exception, and even here there are grey areas. Read More

Discussions with pre-service teachers on ICT use

NetworkThis is a link to a forum I recently contributed to which discussed the use of ICT in classes and how to manage the use of computers in schools. The scenarios were well presented by the students and the discussion was very useful.
Fellow contributor was John Oxley and the forum was run by MIchelle Williams.

Image modified from Zigomitros Athanasios work at Wikimedia Commons

Do we need coding in school?

MatrixIn a recent Guardian article (See Here) John Naughton gives us some ideas about how to approach the problem of educating our kids in the technology saturated world that is only going to get more-so in the future. A great deal of what Naughton says I agree with but he then resorts to some good old-fashioned rallying cry stuff like 
”The biggest justification for change is not economic but moral. It is that if we don’t act now we will be short-changing our children. They live in a world that is shaped by physics, chemistry, biology and history, and so we, quite rightly, want them to understand these things. But their world will be also shaped and configured by networked computing and if they don’t have a deeper understanding of this stuff then they will effectively be intellectually crippled. They will grow up as passive consumers of closed devices and services, leading lives that are increasingly circumscribed by technologies created by elites working for huge corporations such as Google, Facebook and the like. We will, in effect, be breeding generations of hamsters for the glittering wheels of cages built by Mark Zuckerberg and his kind.” Read More

Some thoughts on the effects of ICT on our society

Now I love technology, but the following is related to an email I received from one of my colleagues who is similarly technological but yet concerned with detrimental effects of modern technology use on our students. This is an email I was writing to him in response. It’s a bit rough and needs more work but contains some important thoughts (if I may say so!!)

Computers and phones in bedrooms will become more and more of a problem. I think a large number (I would guess the majority) of parents have no idea what their kids are up to online. I have always told parents in newsletters and meetings to have the computer in a family area and to make bedrooms a technology free zone where possible. I also tell them to set up these expectations early as it is harder to convince a Secondary age child than a Primary child of where the computers in the house should be. Read More