People working in education are increasingly being urged to think ahead and consider how emerging and future technologies will affect education to better align educational practice, goals and policy with ongoing technological development. It should come as no surprise that I agree. In fact, it’s what I do. But, how do we do this when the future is always at least a step or two ahead of us? It’s certainly no simple task, but what I think it comes down to, essentially, is affordances. That is, we need to consider what the affordances of projected technological developments will be in, and beyond, educational environments. Continue reading
The following is an article that I started to write several years ago and just now rediscovered while working on something else. I guess I intended to write more about ‘big picture’ innovation in education but only got as far as some guiding questions that that section would address. Nevertheless, I think it’s an interesting article as is and may have some relevance in the rapid change environment that schools find themselves today as they adopt technologies such as mobiles/tablets, etc. I’m going to leave it as is with the questions at the end rather than writing the final section. Comments, especially ones that address the questions at the end, are very welcome.
I think most would agree that in times of increasingly rapid change, innovation is important for education. That then raises the question; how do we foster innovation in educational systems? There are a lot of general ideas about how innovation works and what needs to be done to promote it. Many of these ideas have been applied to education, primarily approaches that encourage small-scale innovation in the classroom, i.e. making the teacher the primary innovator. These approaches have given mixed results. They’ve produced a lot of interesting ideas but have seldom led to lasting change. Here, I want to consider what broader long-term views of innovation processes, what I’ll call “big picture” theories of innovation, can contribute to discourse on innovation in education. Continue reading
I’ve just read a thought provoking paper about flipped learning that Jon Baggaley has newly published. In his reflection piece, Baggaley criticises flipped learning proponents’ claims that they have developed a novel educational philosophy, approach, or whatever they want to call it. One of the issues raised by Baggaley is that, in his opinion, what people are referring to as “flipping” is by no means a new idea. Rather, it is a repackaging (at best) of ideas and practices that have been floating around in distance and higher education circles for decades. Baggaley is, of course, right. As he clearly demonstrates, neither the “flipped” terminology nor the various components of what is being referred to as “flipping” are new. However, Baggaley does seem to overlook the significance of the relatively recent rapid rise in interest in flipping in education. Continue reading
For several years, I have been using a framework for classification of types of social media that I have attributed to boyd & Ellison, 2007. I first used the framework in a seminar that I taught at the University of Minnesota in 2010 (with others) and have used it many times since because I feel it is a very useful framework (more about why below). Therefore, it is in several slides that I have used for presentations and made publically available on Slideshare and elsewhere – always attributed to boyd & Ellison, 2007. Continue reading
I had the opportunity to refer to this in a recent conversation. I’m just going to leave it here for now.
Imagine a country that has a highly developed culture: poetry, philosophy, science, mathematics, but nobody has yet learned to write; it just hadn’t occurred to them to have pencil and paper or even to write with sticks in the sand. One day somebody develops the idea of written language and the pencil and paper are invented. Very quickly this thing, which becomes known as information and communication technology, ICT for short, is picked up by scientists and by world traders. It has a big impact in those areas, and after awhile somebody wonders why we don’t introduce this into our schools. These being cautious people, they decide that it is too risky to give every child one of these new technologies so they put one pencil in every classroom. ‘If that produces good results’, they thought, ‘we’ll maybe produce two pencils in the classroom’, and so on.
Seymour Papert, 2001
One of the things that I do in my work is to encourage people to be aware of the technological changes taking place around them and try to get ahead of the change; to think about future possibilities for education, for society, for us personally. Part of that involves showing them the astounding capabilities of current technology, of which many are woefully unaware. I’ve reveled in the “oohs” and “ahs” when I show a group of teachers how Google’s Field Trip lets your environment announce itself to you, or showing them how to use Google Now’s location awareness to make life just a little bit (or even a lot) easier. But, no more. Google suddenly decided that we here in Iceland (and various other places in the world) can’t have these nice things. What once worked flawlessly now just results in a “Location reporting is not available in your region.” Continue reading