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Education Technology - Dipping Your Toe Into The Technology Maelstrom
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Education Technology - Dipping Your Toe Into the Technology Maelstrom

The wave of technology has been building for many years. The teaching profession has struggled to hold back this tide but change is inevitable. Now the tide has become a vortex, threatening to draw in all unwary travellers.

Educational technology is a wonderful tool but too often it has been seen as either the panacea for poor teaching or the peril which threatens our student's minds. Much of this attitude depends upon the teacher. As teachers we can be reluctant to embrace new technologies. Many of the 'advances' in education have come about as a recycling of an old ideas. Most experienced teachers don't throw out all their old resources, we just archive them. We may not be teaching the generator effect to the current group of senior physicists, but given time, we will be required to do so again. So it is easy to dismiss something novel as a fad which will not last.

Of course this viewpoint has been somewhat made redundant by educational technologies persistent progress. Technology is faster, quicker, cheaper, more portable. the graphics are better, the sound quality excellent. Videos play in high definition and Web 2.0 has opened up the web so the user can interact directly with the information. Now we can chat to each other, mark each others work or correct any mistakes in a wiki. We can podcast our lessons or our student presentations. We can save, store, share and serenade on the web.

Yet still there remains an equity divide. Some schools have so little, others have so much. One school's team of technical support is larger than another school's entire ICT teaching staff. Laptops get dropped, sat on, forgotten, lost, shared and virally attacked. Teacher's are underprepared and underresourced and not always capable of making the most of the technology when it is available. This is when it is time to look for support. Phoning a friend, attending a seminar, passing notes all help share the burden and also the expertise. There will always be reasons to avoid technology and resist the temptation to dip a toe into the water's edge for fear of being sucked into the maelstrom. But sometimes you just have to relax and let the current draw you in.

Educational technology is becoming more and more sophisticated and more available online. You will get it in one of two forms. Either you can pay for some content and spare yourself the endless advertising or you can benefit from the work of others and be aware that advertisers are now more specific in their targetting and may offer you even more benefits from a visit to their site. That is just the way the business works these days.

So what is the first step to getting into education technology?

  • purchase some online resources or subscriptions,
  • start your own blog
  • set up a wiki, for your students
  • create a podcast
  • get social; facebook or twitter away
  • share photos or videos, even powerpoints with your students

The whole point of technology is not what you do, but how you teach your students to take advantage of the Web 2.0 tools for teaching and learning. You will be more effective if you take a little time to explore the territory first.

Just be warned, once you take the plunge, you may end up caught in the excitement and possibility of educational technology maelstrom.


Street Talk

Kyle  

Teachers that are in tune with technology likely aren't in tune with their students. A simple blog or twitter account can lead to efficiencies on both end. Send a tweet about homework that is due. No reminders need in class. Blog the latest assignment, then students have no excuses about "not knowing" what the latest assignment was.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks for the feedback Kyle. Students are so much more sophisticated in their use of social networking than their teachers, though they may initially resent the 'school' intrusion into their 'personal space'. I firmly believe technology will be part of the next revolution in education. The final reason for the traditionalist view of schooling, namely the socialisation aspect, is what Web 2.0 does best. The question is: which school will be brave enough to abandon the 'traditional model' in favour of a fully integrated, technology based, learning community and become the model for 21st century education?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Kyle  

Good question. I think that the uni and college system absorbs new technology and innovation much quicker than the primary/secondary systems. This is unfortunately because there is a big disconnect between teachers and students right now and the teachers are systemically at the demise of the higher power (principle or administration). Until we understand that students are learning and communicating efficiently through facebook, twitter, blogs and websites, there is going to be this problem. I hope this is sorted soon as the future will not look bright if we cannot connect with students at an earlier age. More globalization and outsourcing is going to drive jobs away to cheaper, more skilled workers.

  
  about 1 decade ago
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