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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure
Reflecting on material is a path to understanding by an individual learner, but when a group of learners reflect in public, they provide a rich field for conversations about the material. Debates. Conjectures. Contrapositives. Analysis. Conversations can lead to co-learning when other elements — trust, shared purpose, lead learners, skilled facilitation, serendipity — combine to influence groups of learners to be co-responsible for each other’s learning. And co-learners over time can grow into learning communities.
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|Fig Tree in the Desert|
The common fig tree has been cultivated since ancient times and grows wild in dry and sunny areas, with deep and fresh soil; also in rocky areas, from sea level to 1,700 meters. It prefers light and medium soils, requires well-drained soil, and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Like all fig trees, Ficus carica requires wasp pollination of a particular species of wasp (Blastophaga psenes) to produce seeds. The plant can tolerate seasonal drought, and the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean climate is especially suitable for the plant. Situated in a favorable habitat, old specimens when mature can reach a considerable size and form a large dense shade tree. Its aggressive root system precludes its use in many urban areas of cities, but in nature helps the plant to take root in the most inhospitable areas...The fig tree, with the water, cools the environment in hot places, creating a fresh and pleasant habitat for many animals that take shelter in its shade in the times of intense heat.What could one learn from a fig tree? Quite a bit:
|Source: Egyptian Nomad . I love this nomad picture. Now, imagine this person at the center of |
connections made possible by social media. Awesome to imagine!
Being a disconnected nomad limited my ability to lead and learn. We fear what we don't know or understand. When this happens we make excuses not to do something and in education we resort to blocking, banning, or pretending something doesn't exist. This is how I saw social media and mobile technology back in 2009. The problem is that the majority of educators in 2014 still feel this way. The epiphany for me was that I saw a professional opportunity in Twitter to improve communications with my stakeholders. From here I began to lurk and learn, which resulted in no longer being a disconnected nomad.Eric's then elaborates on how his epiphany has had a transformative effect on his work, cautioning others to overcome their fears. The connection to the term "nomad," though, captured my attention.
There still are too many disconnected nomads leading schools and teaching our students who have yet to experience the unlimited potential that connectivity offers.
|Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson, Digital Nomad|
Individual change resistance is the refusal of a social agent (a single person, organization, corporation, etc) to fully support or adopt new behavior. Systemic change resistance is the tendency for a system as a whole to reject an attempted change, even if that change is promoted over a long period of time by a substantial fraction of the population. That's what's happening in the sustainability problem, so when we say "change resistance" we usually mean systemic change resistance. Source: Change ResistanceThrough crucial confrontations and conversations, I believe we can see individuals change. In truth, though, those who won't change or who actively resist change, as one principal put it to me, "should be encouraged to exit." But I often find that resistance isn't about an individual, rather, a system that fights back.
The effective technology coordinator needs to understand curriculum, principles of staff development, organizational development, good pedagogy, and be especially skilled in understanding human dynamics...The technology coordinator needs to understand good pedagogy in order to assist teachers in being able to use technology to support and improve a good instructional program.When I reflect on my years of serving in my role as instructional technologist, or technology coordinator, I see where this argument has gone wrong. While well-intentioned, it is plain wrong.
The haptic and tactile feedback of a Kindle does not provide the same support for mental reconstruction of a story as a print pocket book does' … an ebook reader. A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were "significantly" worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.(Source: The Guardian)
Mangen also pointed to a paper published last year, which gave 72 Norwegian 10th-graders texts to read in print, or in PDF on a computer screen, followed by comprehension tests. She and her fellow researchers found that "students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally". (Source: The Guardian)So, forgive me when I see content like this, which offers unstinting, unexamined praise for the use of tablets in classrooms for digital textbook viewing:
With tablets, students can type queries into their books as the questions come to mind, then sift through the answers themselves. And there’s a whole lot less peer pressure involved in entering a query into a search form, so hesitant students are more apt to ask questions in the first place. Source: Digital Book WorldAdmittedly, many of us will have little choice about adopting digital textbooks in schools. Consider this excerpt:
Education companies and organizations are getting on board by leveraging the technology of tablets to bring digital textbooks and all-in-one, next generation curriculum products to the classroom... “Noting that annual textbook costs for U.S. K-12 public schools has reached nearly $8 billion", the FCC and the Department of Education have encouraged the country to transition to interactive digital learning within the next five years (T-mobile helping to advance, 2012). There is no doubt that with the integration of tablets and the digital curriculum, apps, e-readers, and e-texts that will surely be paired along with them, will necessitate a shift of those textbook costs.
Pearson’s Common Core System of Courses comes preloaded with Pearson’s math and English language arts curriculum, apps such as iWork, iLife, and iTunes, and a variety of educational third-party apps (Bowman & Muller, 2013). With a complete math and English curriculum and additional built in resources, the need for textbooks is unnecessary. Students are able to access media and web resources related to the curriculum as well as engage in learning without difficult-to-plan trips to the library or the run down lab.
The ultimate costs of digital textbooks and curriculum, coupled with the resources of the world wide web brought to the classroom via tablets, will eventually make more sense than printing, binding, and delivering textbooks that are often instantly dated the moment they are printed.
“Although [digital textbooks] might be more expensive initially, the volume of sales should result in increased opportunity for lower unit costs. The logical result is more faculty demand, more publisher investment, and faster growth" (McFadden, 2012). Source: Why Digital Learning Is Here To StayWhat does this mean for schools? It means we'll need to soon start equipping students with low-cost tablets or Chromebooks. My money is on Chromebooks, which come equipped with keyboards, are being supported by state-wide tutorial/assessment initiatives--in Texas at least with TexasSuccess.org--and offer the biggest bang for their buck.