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Showing posts from April, 2014

What Digital Revolution?

In a recent ICT committee meeting, one of the participants made the remark that the digital revolution has failed to deliver all that it supposedly promised. Having been a part of the YVeLC pilot program almost ten years ago which focused on the potential of 2:1 laptops, it has been interesting seeing the changes that have occurred since that time. In a conversation with +Catherine Gatt, this is the list of reasons that we came up with as to why the digital revolution has failed to be the saviour that so many said it would be.
Failure to InvestThe government, both state and federal, has invested a lot over the last ten years. Whether it be providing Internet for students, WiFi access in schools, support in regards to servers and switches, as well as devices for students. In addition to this, the state government Victoria made a big investment with the now defunct Ultranet, a learning platform that was supposed to be the intermediary between staff, students and parents. The big question…

Repositioning the Use of Technology in Schools

In a recent post in his Myths of Technology series, +George Couros wrote about the idea that 'technology dehumanises'. In this piece, Couros suggests that it is a misnomer that technology is anti-social and takes away from our relationships. Instead, technology actually provides the potential to amplify our relationships. Rather than technology, Couros posits that "people dehumanize one another, not technology". This got me thinking about a point +Doug Belshaw made in his book 'The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies' that digital literacies are at there heart social.
In a presentation for Promethean, Peter Kent put forward that interactive whiteboards offered an opportunity to modify the way we teach and the way students learn. Instead of merely using the projector to provide information, the interactive nature of the boards allow students to come up to the board and engage with information and ideas, providing the opportunities to build further conversa…

Holding On or Holding Out - A Remembrance of Things Past

I recently helped clean up some of my Mum's stuff. She was a heavily religious person and had kept endless diaries and journals containing various thoughts and reflections. Although my siblings and I got rid of a lot of bible study materials, however I just couldn't bring myself to dispose of all her diaries. Beyond the images and memories, those diaries represented my last connection to my mum. The reality though is that there is a fine line between holding onto objects and items for prosperity and actually clearing things and moving on. 
Often the same can be said about education and the call for change. It is so easy to get caught up in nostalgia. Remembering things as they once were. The problem with such memories is that they often reference an idyllic reality that was not such idyllic. However, having said this, it is also important to recognise how we got to today.
The worst thing that we can do though is forgetting the past. So often the call is made to sweep everything …

Common Sense That Is Not Always So Common - A Review of Danah Boyd's It's Complicated

Voltaire once suggested that, "common sense is not so common." So to can +danah boyd's It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens be seen as an attempt to reposition the debate about teenagers and the supposed scurvy of life in an online world. Boyd sets out to dispel many of the negative and dystopian views that so often fill the news. As she moves from one case study to another, I was left with many aha moments, particular while reading about fear and privacy. Having grown up with the practise of placing the desktop computer in a public space, it had never really occurred to me some of the deeper consequences of such actions. That is not to say that such approaches are wrong, but like every choice, everything comes with a cost. At its heart, the book puts forward many of the issues and arguments that are too often overlooked in mainstream education.
The reality is, living in a networked world is complicated for as Boyd states, it is both the same as, but …

Are You Really Connecting If You Are Not Giving Back?

Alan Thwaites posted the following tweet and it got me thinking. Not just what you Tweet Aaron, but watching how you use Twitter has been very clarifying for me. I appreciate it mate. — Alan Thwaites (@athwaites) April 6, 2014 How is it that I use social media anyway and more importantly, what does it mean to be a connected educator anyway?
In a recent post about the benefits of blogging and being a connected educator, +Tom Whitby outlines some of the many benefits associated with sharing online. He states: The difference between writing a blog post and writing a magazine or journal article is the immediate feedback in the form of comments or responses. Before a blogger puts words to the computer screen the audience and its reaction are a consideration. The blogger will strive for clarity in thought. The blogger will strive for clarity in the writing. The blogger will attempt to anticipate objections.What stands out to me in Whitby's post is that the whole process revolves around its …

The Show Must Go On

I have learnt a lot over the last few months with the recent death of my mum, that denial never really helped anyone, that we can miss some of the most pertinent moments in life because we aren't open to them. However, one of the biggest take-aways has been that no matter what is going on, life doesn't stand still for anyone.
In getting the backyard organised for my daughter's birthday this morning, it dawned on me that during the last month when the last thing on my list of things to do was cutting things back and nurturing the garden, that the garden didn't care, it just kept on growing. Whether it be the passionfruit vine stretching out even further along the fence line or the lemon tree growing even taller, the garden had kept on going.
To me this is all a part of something bigger that I have come to realise. Whether it be illness, mourning or even extended holidays, the world around us does not stop. The house doesn't clean itself, the washing does do itself, bi…

Sharing the Load of Blogging In and Out of School

cc licensed (BY-SA) flickr photo by mrkrndvs: http://flickr.com/photos/113562593@N07/13558173444
In Episode 70 of RU Connected, +Lois Smethurst and +Jenny Ashby discussed the place of blogging in school. Both outlined how they had been setting up blogs in the classroom as a great way to collaborate, but also as a way to connect with the wider community, whether this be parents or other schools and students. What I found most interesting though was when the conversation turned from the student to the teacher. Jenny explained about how she had introduced Quadblogging to her staff. I had always heard of Quadblogging been used as a structured way to make links with other classes and other schools, however I had never heard of quadblogging been used as a means for teachers to connect and collaborate.
This all reminded me about an idea that I posed in a post last year, titled 'Sharing the Load of Blogging.' My thought was that in creating a collective school blog, it would ease the s…