A changing future

Watching some of the YouTube clips on the study desk like A vision of todays students got me thinking about my future as an educator and how ICT will play a major role in how I teach.

When first thinking about integrating ICT into the classroom, I was hesitant.  I expected this task to be difficult and inconvenient; time consuming and stressful. This attitude of not wanting to change and try something new is portrayed in the Karl Fisch ‘what if’  clip. This is probably a fairly common feeling for people when presented with something foreign and unknown. But the more I think about my future as teacher I realise that I am lucky; lucky to be beginning my journey at a time of such change, growth, development.  ICT is changing the scope of how we teach and how we learn. Although I feel apprehensive about learning about all this new technology, in the end it will make my life as a teacher so much easier. I won’t be limited to the traditional teaching strategies that I knew as a school student, but instead I will have a whole new range of strategies and learning activities that will help to engage and teach students to the best of their abilities. I am not meaning that the old ways are wrong or that ICT is the only way to go, but instead that we now have more options in our ways of connecting with students and I think this can only be a good thing.

In saying this I am still nervous and I do get frustrated at times using this new technology! But I am excited and encouraged to learn.

Technology in the classroom

I was in class today and noticed two students not doing their work; instead they playing on their phones. I went over to investigate only to find that they were not actually on facebook or social media like I had assumed; to my surprise they were both interacting with a knowledge app that focuses on literacy, numeracy and a range of general knowledge. They were completely engaged and interacting in the game, while also learning and expanding their own knowledge. This got me thinking about how ICT, when used correctly in the class room can be effective in engaging students in learning and promoting a positive learning environment.

This is in line with an interesting post I read on Blake’s blog Technology and Teaching about how using similar programs (short quizzes) could make for a more interactive class where students learning is accelerated. This is an area I look forward to learning more about and attempting to implement in classrooms.

Am I fighting a lost battle?????

I find myself coming into this course somewhat prejudiced about technology; I just prefer to interact with the ‘real’ world….whatever that means! I guess I like to be outdoors, dealing with people face to face, no screens, just simple, old fashioned life.

The study desk posed the question, does technology make people anti-social? My initial thought was YES, definitely. Nothing bugs me more than people playing on their phones while sitting at a dinner table with friends at a restaurant. True, they might be socialising via the phone, but they are ignoring the social situation they are physically in. I say this with a very solid belief in my words…however, at times I find myself behaving exactly in this manner….playing on my phone while others are around me! And how angry I am at myself when I find myself doing this!

I’m a hypocrite…or perhaps social technology is addictive. Perhaps technology has changed our definition of appropriate social behaviour, and I need to conform to society’s trends. Perhaps I am anti-social because I don’t have Facebook, twitter or Instagram.

Show them this photo if someone said tec by ifindkarma, on Flickr

I really like this picture. It reminds me of being in bed at night with my wife not talking and both transfixed on our mobile phones. I know that a few years ago (like in the example picture) we both would have probably been reading a book and not speaking; equalling the same anti-social occurrence. But reading a book at night tends to send me to sleep whereas my phone with its bright lights stimulates me and I can’t sleep for hours. So now I’m being anti-social and not getting enough sleep. Maybe my time spent on the phone/internet at night is making me a more sociable and knowledgeable bloke….I’m reading about interesting news, watching football highlights, interacting with study material, reading and responding to blogs!

I suppose the question about socialising and technology depends somewhat on the context. Maybe it’s not the technology that makes us more or less social, but the way we use ICTs.

In relation to using ICT in teaching, I believe it is important to ask ourselves;

  • Am I using this ICT technology to enhance the students learning? or
  • Am I just using it because it is there, the department has spent money on it, it looks fancy and I have learnt about it at university, so it must be beneficial to student learning?

Are theories silly?

What are theories? Are theories simply ideas, concepts, thoughts? If this is the case, then theories are a subjective belief. Some may say a theory is just someone’s ideas about a particular subject…anything. Some may say theories are processes that should be followed to make something work. Some may say theories reflect someone’s experiences. In these cases, theories can really be anything. Anything a person expresses could be a theory. So are theories ‘silly’ then, in this respect? Perhaps. However, theories are tested….proven, disproven, and analysed by research. Do we, or should we rely solely on theories to live, learn and more specifically, teach others just because they are supported by research?

If we consider theories in education, development and learning, such as those of Freud, Skinner, Dewey, how are we ever to successfully follow but one of these theories, and teach solely according to this? Are we expected to? Of course not! If this was the case, then yes, perhaps theories would be silly!! However, one thing I have learnt during my studies and my experiences so far is that we must have knowledge and understanding of theories in order to develop our own theory. We must consider various approaches to learning and teaching, and combine this information with our own thoughts, beliefs and experiences to develop theories that will ultimately guide our teaching of others.

If a teacher only uses one idea or ‘theory’ to teach, they may only connect with a portion of the learners, because we know that we all have different needs; whereas if they use ideas from different theories and experts, surely they will have a better chance of engaging more students more effectively?

So, no, I don’t think theories are silly, but I don’t think that the delivery of education should be, or is limited to specific known ‘theories’. I think we all develop our own theories and interpretation of theories by considering other’s ideas and beliefs and integrating this with our experiences. But of course, this is just my theory….

Here is an interesting article that highlights differences in theories, perspectives and opinions about learning and development….. and relates to ICT 🙂

ICT and me….

Hi all my name is Thor and this is my first time in the blog world.

I don’t consider myself the type to ‘blog’….I don’t have Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook. Yes, I do use email, but I suppose my preferred method of communication is face-to-face (although I do enjoy a chat on the phone, or a meaningless text message conversation with friends, my wife….and occasionally my young children :)). It’s not that I don’t value ICT….I certainly appreciate it’s use in our world today…I simply prefer to spend my time interacting with my children and watching them learn from the world around us, talking to my wife, being outdoors, on my property, playing my guitar and hanging with my mates at footy training followed by a few drinks around the fire. But that’s just me…..

As far as studying ICT in education goes, if I am honest, I am certainly not ‘chomping at the bit’ to start this course. In saying this, I am interested to learn, be taught, investigate and discover methods by which I can be a better teacher….and in modern times, ICT is integral, I know. If I can relate to young people and help them to reach their full potential, I will be satisfied, even if I must spend some time myself understanding the uses of ICT in secondary education.

I’m in my third year of Secondary Education, majoring in both Special Education and HPE. I also work as a Learning Support Officer in a large high school. Perhaps my students can teach me a thing or two about ‘blogging’…..