Posts Tagged technology
I remember a similar video from Microsoft that takes a look at the future – not too distant – to conjecture on the state of the world associated with products already in the pipeline. I like to think of it as the nexus between StarTrek and reality. We’ve seen many crossover and successful products emerge this way. On the backs of Roddenberry style imagination, the future is crafted. Science fiction brought us cell phones and iPads. This video suggests what is next in interactive environments.
So the question that emerges is what do we do about preparing students for a future like this? If they only used today’s computers, will they be ready to demonstrate proficiency in a world of this level of interactive demand?
Leadership requires that we move education closer to the leading edge of this kind of development. I have to prepare students for this in school, so that they can go on to dream the next level of accomplishment. The people that are crafting these new ideas were enabled at some point in their education to see beyond the limitations. Can we create another generation of unimagined innovation?
Jay McTighe, one of the gurus behind Understanding by Design, has posted this video on his recent encounter with failure. It speaks to the issue of leaders who are often marked by age that is associated with their experience. Even Jay is showing his age despite the fact that he is only 7 years my senior. (This fact caused me to go peak in my mirror. Yikes!)
At the AAIE conference, this was apparent as I looked across a “wise” crowd of international school leaders. The focus of the weekend was technology and the overall content of the conference fell short of accessing the robust technology available today. That doesn’t mean it was a bad conference – just bereft of the tools we were discussing. I would suggest that it drove home the point of the separation between digital natives, digital immigrants, and digital dinosaurs. While Jay is talking mostly about learning (and learners), I’m suggesting that his insights also provide a unique focus on leaders who are desperate to remain open to innovation, but are challenged by their own fear of failure when addressing a complex and constantly changing context.
Marc Prensky helped us to understand through his keynote that our issue is about the difference between nouns and verbs. We need to be less focused on the nouns which constitute the latest fads of technology tools (e.g. – Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc.) and focus instead on the skills (verbs) of the 21st century. While we need to embrace the nouns as they emerge and are adopted, the process skills of problem solving, collaboration, and communication remain static and highly adaptive to the new context. A powerful connection when considering Jay’s insight into how we address our fear of failure. As Jay notes:
- Don’t give in to negative self-talk
- Don’t let an initial failure keep you from trying again
- Be strategic – practice, details, visualize success
Surfing at 60 is possible for even our most experienced leaders. And I’m not talking about the ocean kind of surfing.
Coming on the heels of my post this morning is a new release from TED.com – Aditi Shankardass — who shares her work on brain research that has uncovered the misdiagnosis of 50% of autistic children due to using behavioral observations alone. Sounds like examining the boulder from the outside again and coming to inaccurate conclusions.
Seems, despite the associated costs, that we should address this issue by examining our decision-making paradigms. Should we assess the American Educational System on the basis of high-stakes tests alone? Should we use carrot/stick methodologies to increase competition and offer rewards for excellence when we want a comprehensive and viable education for all?
Under a grant from HP, the New Media Consortium and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has released the latest New Horizon Report for K-12 education. Not surprisingly, the two critical trends to take center stage are Cloud Computing and Collaborative Environments.
The critical issues surrounding the trends that this collaboration brings to the forefront is the degree to which we have failed to link student achievement to the technology that we are adopting and, further, the degree to which schools have been forced to miss the boat on one initiative after another due to lack of financial resources or insufficient political resolve. The Horizon Report lists five critical trends that are not disappearing any time soon:
- Technology is increasingly a means for empowering students, a method for communication and socializing, and a ubiquitous, transparent part of their lives.
- Technology continues to profoundly affect the way we work, collaborate, communicate, and succeed.
- The perceived value of innovation and creativity is increasing.
- There is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring, and independent study.
- The way we think of learning environments is changing.
With new devices (e.g. iPad), and new technologies descending upon us on a daily basis, we need to consider how to best approach the challenges that we now face since our prior efforts have been so stilted and restrained. While we see pockets of excellence throughout the world, the systemic and sustainable changes to educational systems still evade us.
I understand why. While we all recognize the import of technology on daily life, we continue to be circumspect because the research proving its efficacy lacks so far behind the intervention that new technologies have already replaced those originally reviewed. Our system of reflection and review is insufficient in its capacity to truly address the actual effects of these trends.
A recent presentation by adjunct professors at Pacific Lutheran University is a perfect example. Their research on purported unintended consequences of technology heaped upon young unsuspecting children was, in most cases, 10 years old. Can anyone remember what kind of computers we were using 10 years ago? Can you remember which devices didn’t exist a decade ago?
In Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement by John Hattie (2009), computer assisted instruction was considered using 81 meta-analyses that included 4,875 studies involving 3.9 million subjects. The effect size was approximately d=0.37, something just more than developmental effects – in other words an effect that was about equivalent to just normal growth and development. Despite my argument above, there was little change in effect size when broken down by year of study which Hattie believes counters the belief in increasing effect with increased sophistication. Like many, the only correlation was between the use of computers and increased student engagement. Hattie concludes that there is no necessary relation between having computers, using computers, and learning outcomes.
But, hold the phone – Hattie throws us a bone when he does further analysis of the data and proposes that the following conditions must be met.
Computers are used effectively…
- when there is a diversity of teaching strategies
- when there is a pre-training in the use of computers as a teaching and learning tool (min. of 10 hours)
- when there are multiple opportunities for learning (e.g. deliberative practice, increasing time on task, etc.)
- when the student, not teacher, is in “control” of learning
- when peer learning is optimized
- when feedback is optimized
These two pieces of literature coupled with our own sound judgment form a new approach to prudent thinking on deployment of technology resources. A formula based approach of developing infrastructure, providing training, and prudently purchasing equipment may lead to a best practices scenario for technology’s next horizon.
Jeff Utecht is being a bit pessimistic with his description of the recently launched third iteration of the Learning 2.0 conference series. Despite his apprehension, there is every reason to believe that this conference will again inspire and direct individuals along the path of creating the next generation of learning practices. Inspired by a collaboration of like-minded individuals in 2008, this conference continues to elicit strong gains in applying technology based practices in real learning environments. We have changed practices through our efforts, and yet we are still struggling with the degree to which that change continues to be hampered by politics and outdated pedagogy.
Thus, we offer the latest iteration of 21st-century thinking and give you the new and improved Learning 2.x. The focus this time will be on research-based practices in providing for sustainability through development of long-term relationships in cohorts of like-minded individuals. Of particular excitement to me is the opportunity to coordinate the leadership strand. Applying theory and leading-edge concepts on school change with a cohort of individuals responsible for implementing that change is an exciting and energizing venture. If everything comes together as planned, there will be opportunity prior to the conference to build an essential common framework upon which our conversations will emerge. These personal learning networks (PLN) will continue through and beyond the conference and provide a significant foundation for future collaboration and support.
How can you not get excited about something like this?!
Take a look at the website and consider joining us in what ever cohort strikes your fancy. Personally, I hope you will consider the leadership strand.
I stand corrected. It looks like Smart Tech (www.smarttech.com) has got one in the works. Would love to know how implementation is going. Anyone?
Click here – The SMART Table