Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

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

Learning Styles and the prevalence of saleable education products.

I wrote this in reply to an email from a colleague who sent me this link.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/students-taught-pseudo-scientific-rubbish-experts-warn-20160804-gql9v1.html

Informed educators have been pushing back against learning styles for years. Though you can use them in some low-stakes ways to enrich some teaching.

The use of educationally-related ideas to manufacture saleable products is a problem. Teachers who don’t have the time to filter the good from the ‘snake oil’ are sold millions of dollars of rubbish every year. Read More

Automation and Futures

Automation Futures

Automation and the use of algorithms within all areas of human activity are phenomena that will have increasing relevance for the majority of citizens in developed and developing regions of the world during the next few decades.

Policymakers, legislators, leaders and innovators will increasingly need to focus on coping with the demands that automation places upon all aspects of society, industry and the structures of finance and commerce. Our current understanding of the issues of employment and careers, education, training, and even what it means to be a worthwhile member of society, will be challenged and need to change due to the interacting developments and effects of capitalism, automation and continuing globalisation.

Leaders in government, business, industry, education and social services will need to change methods, structures and processes in increasingly innovative ways to remain effective and relevant.

Automation has already had significant effects in various parts of our society. These effects give, and will continue to give, wildly varying experiences depending on how, where, why, and in what ways automation has been adopted.

The_Future_The exact nature of the effects of automation will be different in various parts of the world, in different parts of each society and even in different areas of the same industry. As William Gibson is attributed to saying, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” (discussion of the quote attribution here).

The uneven advance of automation throughout the world will likely cause policy makers to spend a great deal of time debating the causes, effects, likely certainty and efficacy of rapid and accelerating technology development and application. This political and legislative delay will likely exacerbate the problems that automation will bring along with its benefits. 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

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