In the Moment

But more often than not, we still lasso technology for the more traditional purposes and practices of education: for content delivery. We keep designing education technology with an emphasis on knowledge acquisition, despite all our glee about a move into an information age where our relationship to knowledge will supposedly be transformed.
Source: The Future of Education: Programmed or Programmable by Audrey Watters, Hack Education

Many of us spend time "in the moment" of educating, hoping and pray our work will have a significant impact. We focus on achieving proficiency or meeting standards, little time on measuring growth. Learning is about growth, while teaching is about achieving learning objectives and covering curriculum. The truth isn't so stark, the divide between teaching or learning so yawning...or maybe, [yawn] is the appropriate word.  As Seth Godin points out in this video cited at A Principal's Reflections, the focus in schools includes: 1) How to solve interesting problems and 2) How to lead.


Audrey's contention is that we're focused on content and content-delivery in schools. And, you know what, she isn't wrong. Audrey goes on to say the following:

The readable, writable, programmable Web is so significant because, in part, it allows us to break from programmed instruction. That is, we needn’t all simply be on the receiving end of some computer-mediated instruction, some teacher-engineering. We can construct and create and connect for ourselves. And that means that — ideally — we can move beyond the technologies that deliver content more efficiently, more widely. It means too we can rethink “content” and “information” and “knowledge” — what it means to deliver or consume those things, alongside what it makes to build and control those things.
Even though it's gotten so much easier to construct, create, connect, and collaborate at a distance, human beings are hitting up against their "internal wiring." You know, our focus on being social to encourages us to break the rules, to gossip, to share ideas and information. School, as it stands now, is an invitation to set that aside, to focus on what makes us better as a human race.

But some argue that school doesn't do that well anymore...we're no longer advancing who we need to be to improve the lot of humanity, but rather school is a distraction from what we could be doing. After all, the tools are available to us...the web stretches before us, an infinite clump of nodes connected by technology previously unavailable. Are our brains ready to slip loose the bonds of evolution?


But doesn't evolution necessitate death for the less successful members of a tribe? Isn't the failure to adapt to current conditions deadly? Are Connected educators, mutants, and the rest of us failed experiments in a giant laboratory of humanity's own creation?

(;-))

When designing online learning opportunities for K-12 educators, adult learners who may often be uninterested in self-directed learning relevant to work (really, how many of the schools in your district are actually building PLNs and tapping into the rich networks of edu-twitterers, connecting and empowering teaching, learning and leading in their schools? The truth is, probably not a lot. Otherwise, we wouldn't have notable keynoters preaching connected educator month for the unenlightened, right?).

It is not to keep up with colleagues, or achieve social media notoriety, but rather to keep up with the shift in the way all people will approach learning as the digital divide begins to close at an ever-increasing rate.Source: Enough with Connected Educator Month! by Tom Whitby, My Island View
In spite of the fact that the unenlightened care little about being connected educators, or creating and constructing their own learning opportunities, if there is one audience that is expected to receive "programmed instruction," as Audrey puts it, without complaint, that is schoolteachers and administrators. A colleague recently shared the total list of required, mandatory trainings that staff in schools are required to complete. 

Once you review the list, you realize that most schools are probably NOT in compliance. Worse, you realize that some districts try to address these problems via powerpointless presentations, rather than take advantage of online options, such as through providers like SafeSchools or by designing their own and embedding them in a Moodle or course management system.


Maybe, it's negative thinking that leads one to reject big hairy audacious dreams (a recipe for "B-HAD) like expecting every teacher to build their own blog, PLN, create and collaborate at a distance. 

“Although positive thinking feels good in the moment,  it often bears a false promise. Only when it’s paired with a clear view of potential obstacles will it consistently produce desirable results.”  Gabriele Oettingen, author of, “Rethinking Positive Thinking.” as cited in LeadershipFreak
While a few will do it in any given system of education (system strives for balance...sorta like your first child is sweet and wonderful, while the second child is ornery due to wanting to be different and individual). While the web allows for us to be whomever we wish in infinite variety, you have to wonder if folks arriving to the party late wonder if it's worth having another thought. With the plethora of blogs out there, not to mention social media outlets, the only real connections are the ones you make that are worthwhile. Everything else is just fuel.
I am constantly amazed by educators who think they can ignore, outlive, avoid, or defeat any efforts in their schools to improve education using technology. In the schools where I've worked, classrooms have had at least one computer for twenty-five years or more. Yet, their daily use with kids (not just for professional productivity) seems more an anomaly than a regular, unremarkable practice.
Do some educators still believe that technology in education is a passing whimsy?
Source: Blue Skunk Blog
The false promise of edtech--about which there has been much positive thinking that bears little fruit--has been simply that people have seized on it to improve their own work, but changing that of students...well, we simply want to deliver content and make sure kids learn it.






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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

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