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